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  • HR Heartbeat: How to handle flexible working requests, strikes, bullying, and…

HR Heartbeat: How to handle flexible working requests, strikes, bullying, and…

Welcome to this week’s employment law run down. Get expert insights on new rules around strikes, the public sector pay rise, a new bill on bullying, and learn how to handle flexible working requests.

First published on Thursday, Jul 20, 2023

Last updated on Thursday, Jul 20, 2023

2 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.

So, let’s check out this week’s headlines…

No more agency work cover for striking staff

In July 2022, the Government changed a long-standing law to allow employers to engage agency workers to cover staff who are on strike.

From 10 August 2023, the High Court will reverse this position making it once again illegal for temporary agency workers to replace striking staff.

All businesses affected by strikes will now have no option but to deal with worker-less days and agencies will have to make sure they’re fully aware of this latest change.

For advice on the steps you can take to avoid disruptions due to strikes. Ask BrightLightning: How do I avoid striking?

Pay rise for public sector workers in an attempt to end strikes

Over 1 million public sector workers, including teachers, police and doctors have been offered pay rises ranging from 5-7%.

  • Police and prison officers in England and Wales have been offered a 7% pay rise.
  • Teachers in England have been offered 6.5%.
  • Junior doctors in England 6% and a £1,250 consolidated increase.
  • Consultants, GPs, and dentists in England 6%.
  • And members of the armed forces 5% plus a £1,000 consolidated increase.

Teaching unions have called off planned strike action and they’re recommending that their members accept the pay deal.

Get free advice for managing pay and working benefits.

The Bullying and Respect at Work Bill

A new Bill has been proposed that would create a statutory definition of bullying. Currently, claims can already be brought by employees that stem from bullying in the workplace, but this new bill would give workplace bullying itself a specific legal claim.

The new law if passed will likely result in increased regulations for employers to protect staff against workplace bullying.

Training should already be provided to employees on the prevention of discrimination and harassment.. Now, it’s more important than ever to cover bullying to reduce the chance of problems escalating to claims at tribunals.

For quick and compliant advice, ask BrightLightning: How can I address workplace bullying?

New draft of the flexible working Code of Practice

Acas has issued a consultation on an updated statutory Code of Practice on handling flexible working requests.

Acas’s Codes of Practice provide employers with detailed guidance on how to deal with situations in the workplace. While they aren’t legislative, statutory Codes of Practice are referred to by employment tribunals, which is why they’re important to keep an eye on!

The aim of the Code is to provide employers, employees, and representatives with a clear explanation of the statutory right to request flexible working and practical advice for handling requests appropriately.

The draft Code is more detailed than the previous version and the consultation will remain open until 6th September 2023.

In the meantime, get all your questions on flexible working answered in a flash. Ask BrightLightning: Who can make a flexible working request?

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!


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