Key employment law updates | July 2021

ACAS advice on hybrid working

As the 'work from home' guidance has now been lifted, employers are currently reviewing their working arrangements and are considering alternative options to traditional office-based model. ACAS has recently published new guidance to help employers consider whether to introduce hybrid working, a type of flexible working where a member of staff splits their time between the employer's premises and working remotely.

Some of the key points coming out of ACAS' advice are:

  • employers should consult with their employees, managers and unions as soon as possible to help them consider whether to implement hybrid working;
  • employers should think about how employment contracts might be affected by hybrid working and should consult with their employees and representatives about any changes;
  • employers should consider employee's needs and consider how they can best support them;
  • employers should consider things such as data protection, risk assessments, equipment/working set up and staff communication; and
  • employers may be able to have a trial period for hybrid working, so that they can see whether it works for their business.

Government intention to introduce duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace

The Government has confirmed, after responding to the consultation on sexual harassment in the workplace, that it will introduce a mandatory duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment. It has also confirmed its intention to introduce specific workplace protections against third-party harassment. There is also the consideration that time limits for claims falling under the Equality Act 2010 will be extended from 3 to 6 months.

Although the law alone will not fix these issues, it is a positive step to ensuring a strong framework is in place to establish clear standards and expectations for employers as well as individuals. Despite drastic changes in the way we work since last year, the aim is to produce a safe working environment whether in the workplace or when working from home.

Updated Right to Work checks now in force

The Draft Code of Practice and updated Guidance on Right to Work checks came into effect on 1 July 2021, so employers should now be completing their Right to Work checks in accordance with this guidance.

In case you missed it, last month, Gemma Robinson set out the key points which came out of the guidance. You can read Gemma's article here. Alternatively, Gemma and Trainee Solicitor, Laura Coombs, recorded this short 10 minute Q&A about the changes to Right to Work checks from 1 July 2021. 

If you have any questions about the changes to Right to Work checks, please do get in touch with Gemma or your usual contact in the Employment team. 

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