Updated 24 January 2019
This year, our Annual Employment Law Masterclass 2019 attracted more than 100 HR professionals, business owners, managers, line managers and students in business, law and HRM.
Senior representatives from Eversheds Sutherland and Acas North West delivered hugely informative and thought-provoking talks.
James Boffey, Adviser and Trainer at Acas North West took delegates through the key trends and figures relating to Employment Tribunals. Claims relating to unlawful deduction of wages are still the most commonly disposed.
Delays are inevitable. The ET National User Group advises that some claims may not be heard until at least 2020 so it is vital that employers take the necessary steps to ensure they will be in a position to defend their case at a later date by, for example, securing witnesses and ensuring that evidence is gathered and preserved at the time rather than later.
James delivered an important message to all delegates ‘Live and breathe important policies, ensure you are hiring the right people who fit your culture and all importantly, foster good relations and invest in creating a culture of open and honest communication.’
James also highlighted the importance of training managers and using probation periods effectively. This is your time to assess a new recruit’s fit with your organisation. Finally prevention is always better than cure so minimise risk and always favour early conciliation.
Brexit, Immigration are, of course two major themes on everyone’s mind both on a professional and personal level. Whatever the outcome on March 29 it’s clear that businesses need to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal. The ‘wait and see’ position is no longer an option for businesses.
Audrey began by going through Settled Status and the Government’s unexpected decision to waive fees. She urged delegates to encourage employees to register and to signpost where employees can find helpful information. Audrey confirmed that the registration process is as far as possible digital and an app exists on Android devices.
Audrey also fed back on the technical difficulties experienced by some people and highlighted a specific issue with German and Dutch dual nationality holders.
Audrey spoke of the MAC report and the Immigration Whitepaper and talked of the implications of a no-deal scenario.
Naeema Choudry updated delegates on the National Minimum Wage and the BEIS consultation, enforcement and sleep-in shifts. Pay Gap reporting has been a huge subject throughout 2018 and again at the start of 2019. Naeema Choudry took us through the state-of-play on gender, ethnicity and Executive pay reporting.
Ethical Working is also high on the agenda of many organisations and Daniel Allen stressed the importance of understanding the very real threat of personal liability in Whistleblowing cases. It’s no longer solely the organisation coming before the judge. He went into detail on Detriment v Dismissal citing key case law.
He looked at the PIDA 1998 background on protection for whistleblowers if they have made a qualifying and protected disclosure, employees protected from dismissal, and workers protected from being subjected to detriment on the grounds of having made a protected disclosure.
Non-Disclosure Agreements have also made headlines in recent times and organisations need to ensure that their use of NDAs is just. We learned what NDAs can do and what they cannot cover.
We also heard about the latest code of practice on Sexual Harassment and explored Modern Slavery statements and how companies can and should go beyond compliance. He highlighted the mounting pressures big and small firms are feeling.
Andrew Moore delivered a very informative talk on the Good Work Plan looking at Labour Market enforcement and commitments highlighting casual/zero-hours/flexible working. He looked at employment and worker status tests, transparency and agency worker reforms.
Andrew also drew our attention to enforcement and the penalties for repeated breaches, sanctions and naming and shaming.
We ended our day with a panel discussion addressing delegates’ questions. Our panellists challenged delegates to give them complicated and challenging questions. We were sorry that Audrey and James could stay to take part.
Feedback from delegates has been amazing and we’ll be adding testimonials to this post over the coming days. If you came along we trust you benefited a great deal from our experts and will refer to the bound copies of slides which hold important information you can refer back to. If you didn’t attend then we hope to see you at next year’s 2020 Annual Employment Law Masterclass.
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About our Sponsor
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP ranked Tier 1 on The Legal 500. Few other law firms offer the quality and resources of Eversheds Sutherland. Based on Great Bridgewater Street in Manchester Eversheds Sutherland provides advice in all areas of the law and seamless access to one of the world’s largest international law firms.
About our partnership with Acas North West
Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. Acas supports good relationships between employers and employees but when things go wrong Acas provides conciliation to resolve workplace problems. Acas North West covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and High Peak.
CIPD Brexit Hub
Access dedicated commentary and resources to help you respond with agility and plan for the future, including:
The CIPD’slatest data and analysis provide insight on the key workforce issues arising from Brexit
CIPD updates and research on Brexit immigration policy as well as Brexit’s potential impact on employment law
The CIPD’s revised legal guide provides practical steps to help you manage and support your migrant workforce through Brexit.