BYOD Guidance (“Bring Your Own Device”)
The Government has issued guidance for employers who have employees using their own electronic devices for work including smart phones and tablets. The guidance includes important risk management considerations relating to data protection that particularly companies whose employees process sensitive client information should read.
Equal Pay Class Action for ASDA
Up to 19,000 ASDA employees are reportedly seeking legal advice regarding a mass legal action against supermarket retailer ASDA under equal pay legislation. Apparently more than 1,000 employees (mainly women) have already lodged claims with the Employment Tribunal on the basis of ‘equal pay for work of equivalent value’ and barristers who previously successfully represented workers who sued Birmingham City Council in similar claims have been instructed.
The employees argue that their jobs on the shop floor should be paid at the same rate as employees working in the warehouse as their work is of ‘equivalent value’ and seek both a payrise and back-pay.
Social media is buzzing with comments from workers who argue the warehouse jobs are harder and so rightly attract a higher wage. ASDA have said they intend to defend the action and make a rather scathing comment about the ‘no win, no fee’ lawyers instructed. The BBC however are comparing the legal action to that of the women in the Dagenham Ford Plant in 1968 which led to the Equal Pay legislation of 1970 being introduced.
Shared Parental Leave – Equal Pay for Men
Continuing the equality theme, it seems that barely a month goes by without us reporting on the new Shared Parental Leave provisions that come into force next year (5th April 2015). September E-Alert
The latest update sees the Government, via Nick Clegg, announcing plans to equalise parental leave and pay arrangements for members of the civil service.
Female civil servants can currently take maternity leave at full pay, but the same does not apply to men. From April 2015 therefore, male civil servants will be entitled to enhanced paternity pay when they take time off under the shared parental leave provisions.
It seems to us that employers will need to review their own policies and consider equalising arrangements, or else face potential sex discrimination cases from male employees.
U.S. Employers Pay Female Staff to Freeze Eggs!
In a perhaps not quite so family friendly move, Apple are the latest reported employer in the USA offering payments to female employees who wish to freeze their eggs and delay having children. Facebook apparently already offer up to $20,000 to female employees for this purpose.
The intention of these policies is apparently to ‘help attract and retain talented female staff’.
One might be forgiven however for thinking that the money would be better spent in adopting and innovating family friendly policies so that women, and indeed men, with children are more able to balance work and family life and so want to join these companies, rather than insinuating that work should come first and perpetuating the view that children ‘get in the way’ of a career.
Draft Guidance on Tax-Free Childcare
Staying with ‘family’, this month the Government published draft guidance on its new tax-free childcare scheme which comes into force in Autumn 2015 to replace the widely under-used childcare vouchers scheme. The legislation is currently making its way through parliament.
The guidance includes advice for employers currently offering childcare vouchers to their employees. Employers already offering childcare vouchers to employees can continue to do so, but once the new scheme is in place, employers will not be able to offer ‘new’ employees childcare vouchers on a tax and NICs exempt basis.
An employee who changes employer within the same group is treated as a new employee for these purposes as are employees who move to a different PAYE scheme.
The obligation will be on employees to notify employers of their leaving childcare voucher schemes three-months before joining the government’s childcare scheme.
For employees within salary sacrifice schemes, this will be classed as a “life event”, which will not call into question the previous salary sacrifice arrangement.
Comments on the draft guidance are invited by 15 December 2014.
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Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.