Explain the age discrimination law before and after the abolishment of the default retirement age.
The age discrimination implicates treating an employee less favourably because of his or her age. Before the enactment of age discrimination law, various forms of discrimination were evident. For example, direct discernment, which involved treating someone unfairly because of his or her age. Others forms of discrimination included indirect discernment, harassment, and victimization. Retirement on its own was also a form of direct age discrimination. Due to some misunderstanding between the employers and the employees, the age discrimination law was enacted to curbs all forms of direct and indirect discernment on grounds of age. Initially, in the United Kingdom, employers had a full mandate to have their employees packing on claims of retirement regardless of any age. The employers workforce control was meeting with objection from the employees and after wide consultation the national default retirement age (DRA) of 65 was agreed upon under provisions of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulation.
Before the abolishment of default retirement age
Before the implementation of this decision, employees would retire at an age of65 as per the provision in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulation of 2006. Employers would only rely on planned retirement as a fair reason for dismissal if they comply with the statutory processes for notification. Once the employers decide to have some of his or her employees retire, they must do so under the provision of the regulation and comply with the minimum period of notice required to communicate their intention. Also, the affected workers can appoint a representative to air their grievances and challenge the employers intentions if they are yet to attain the retirement age. However, some people were not satisfied with this regulation and launched Age UK campaign demanding the abolishment of the default retirement age. The government recognized the intrinsic unfairness of the policy and allowed people to make an individual choice of when to retire.
After the abolishment of Default Retirement Age (DRA)
After the abolishment of the DRA, compulsory retirement was phased out. The issue on retirement was made a choice for an employee to make. Nevertheless, employers were still permitted to have an Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) but under justified reasons. For a reason to be justified, they must be legitimate and the use of that retirement age proportionate to achieve that aim. One of the major achievements of operating without a Normal Retirement Age (NRA) is that employers can address the performance of all staff members equally. Also, a business operating without NRA should rely on other fair dismissal reasons such as conduct, redundancy, and capability among others. According to Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) functioning without the DRA is an opportunity for organizations to evaluate their practices and processes for managing their workers and their performance. Abolishment of DRA though is a part of the government to respond to changing demographic and economic circumstances it does not directly affect the workers pension schemes.
Analyse whether this development gives employers a greater or lesser flexibility in workforce planning.
When it comes to issues of workforce, planning employers are always trying to achieve a certain degree of flexibility. They are different types of workers; some deliver a lower standard of performance for a reason not even related to age. Others will always make that extra effort and as they retire they carry with them experience and competence required in the organization. It is evident that abolishing the DRA will absolutely have an immense impact on the workforce planning. In some businesses retaining the older generation in the workforce limits the employers in recruiting younger workers. Also, advancement of the young generation in the businesses is limited.
The effects of eradicating DRA make it difficult for employers to attract and retain talented employees causing stagnation in the performance of the employees. Succession planning is also another challenge manager experience, as one cannot tell when a certain worker is going to leave. It is even worse when a significant period of training is required before the new personnel is assigned a particular role. For this reasons abolishing DRA limits the flexibility of employers in the workforce planning.
Explain the rules in relation to the following employment rights
Maternity leaves and maternity pay
Pregnant workers are eligible to about 52 weeks statutory maternity leave once they issue their employer with a notice early enough for consideration. Though it is not a must one to spend the entire time, it is mandatory to observe the first two weeks following birth or four weeks for those working in factories. During this period, an employee remains entitled to benefit from all her normal terms and conditions of employment apart from monetary wages or salaries. However, depending on the agreement with her employer she might report for work for ten days during this leave period that is referred to as the keeping in touch days. At the end of the maternity vacation, the worker has a right to regain her original job position and if that is not possible, she is posted to a similar position on the same terms and conditions. Maternity pay is only entitled to those who have continuously worked for a minimum of twenty-six weeks and fifteen weeks before the anticipated week of childbearing. Nevertheless, the payment might differ depending on average weekly earnings and terms of the employment.
Sick leave and sick pay
It is unfortunate that one can fall sick and take a longer time to recover than expected. Such incapacity limits one to work and it is necessary to alert the employer as soon as possible that you are not in a position to attend your duties. Once you get well the employer may call you for a return to work interview to accesses the legitimacy of the sick leave as provided in the statutory sick leave of the contract of service with the business. For one to benefit from the statutory sick pay (SSP) one must have signed a contract with the employer. Also, you must be unwell for more than four days and provide a medical evidence within eight days after reporting your incapacity. By the time DRA has abolished the standard SSP rate was $81.60 per week. SSP is not the only sick pay available as one may also get sick pay allowances.
Paternity leaves and paternity pay
Workers who are expected to have the responsibility of nurturing a child, are biological fathers of the upcoming kid and have worked for over 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby is due are authorized to have a two weeks paternity leave. The leave should be completed before the 56th day of the childbirth. The employees who earn over the minimum limit provided by the National Insurance Contribution are also supposed to receive Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). However, the employer can recover either 92% or entire compensation paid depending on the size of the company. All the other predetermined benefits except wages or salaries hold throughout this leave.
Time off for dependants
All workers regardless of the length of service are entitled to take a rational unpaid time off work due to emergency directly affecting their dependents. A dependent can either be a spouse, child, someone living in the same house, as part of the family or parents to the employee According to the United Kingdom government, one to two days is sufficient to handle such incidents depending on their magnitude. Some of the reasonably practicable incidences include the death of the dependent, emergencies affecting the employees child among others. The employee, therefore, should alert the employer the reason for absenteeism and how long he or she will take to resume his or her duties early enough to avoid inconveniences.
With reference to the case law, identify and explain any five implied duties which employers owe to their employees
It is a requirement in the common law for an employer and employee to agree on the terms of employment contract. In fact, for employers to adhere to the agreement some legislation demands them to observe the working conditions of their employees. Some of the duties employers need to fulfill include:
Every business owner desire to excel and this is not achieved easily but through endless efforts. However, it is mandatory for them to observe that their employees do not surpass the maximum working hours and maintain records for at least two years to show acquiescence with this provision. Also, they should ensure that those working at night shifts do not exceed eight hours and they access a free health assessment before they take up this night work on regular intervals.
Salaries, wages, and benefits
Employers are obliged to honour the national minimum wages and avoid any form of exploitation to human resource. Itemized pay statements are issued before payment is made highlighting the gross amount of wages and any other form of deductions made. Employers should also comply with the tax and social security contributions requirements such as Pay as You Earn Systems (PAYE) and National Insurance Contributions. In addition to basic salaries, employers should honour non-cash benefits if agreed upon with the employee.
Any business with a workforce exceeding five employees needs to provide ample pension arrangement stakeholders can join at will. Though it is not compulsory for employers to contribute to the pool they should offer a channel where employees salaries are deducted on a monthly basis as their contribution. However, they must give information to their employees on all the matters involving the scheme.
Flexible working conditions
Due to some unavoidable circumstances, some workers may request for flexibility in their working stations. An employee may be taking care of his or her children under the age of six or a disabled family member while still working. As an employer such situations need to be addressed accordingly without discrimination.
Compliance with data protection rights
Some personal information employees give to their employer are confidential. Therefore, employers need to observe the privacy of their workers at all cost and avoid any information leaking out. Also, they should provide a copy of all the sensitive personal data if the employee requests it. Unless an employee has made some information public the employer need to comply with the UK employment law safeguarding the privacy of the employees.
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Employmentlaws.co.uk. (2016). Employment Law Guide | Employment laws in the UK. [Online] Available at: http://www.employmentlaws.co.uk/guide/guide_home.html
Expatica.com. (2016). UK labour law: Employment contracts and wages in the UK. [Online] Available at: http://www.expatica.com/uk/employment/UK-labour-law-Employment-contracts-and-wages-in-the-UK_104501.html.
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