HR briefing - February 2020

Welcome to this month's briefing for HR teams and in-house employment counsel – bringing you this month’s employment law highlights in an easy-to-read package.

In the courts

Shared parental leave

We reported in our June 2019 update that the Court of Appeal had examined whether employers could enhance maternity pay, but not shared parental pay. The Court of Appeal’s answer was yes: the special treatment provisions contained in the Equality Act 2010 allowed for beneficial terms for women in connection with pregnancy or childbirth, so the enhancement was not unlawful discrimination or a breach of equal pay. The Supreme Court had been expected to rule definitively on this tricky area, but has decided to refuse leave to appeal. The position therefore remains that adopting different pay structures for different types of family-friendly leave is potentially justifiable.

In the news

Bereavement leave

Legislation implementing the new right to leave on the loss of a child has been passed. It takes effect for losses occurring on or after 6 April 2020 and entitles parents to one or two weeks’ leave, which can be taken alongside other types of family leave. Parental bereavement leave is paid in the same way as other types of statutory leave, but employers are free to enhance as they see fit.

The notice provisions – under which the leave and pay elements require different information to be given – have been criticised as unnecessarily cumbersome, especially at a time when eligible parents will have suffered such an awful loss. HR teams will want to create simple forms to capture the required information in as easy a manner as possible.

New points-based immigration system announced

The government has announced its vision for a new post-Brexit immigration system. Click here to read our immigration team’s excellent note.

Acas guidance on coronavirus

Acas has published guidance for employers on some of the issues around coronavirus, looking at quarantine, sick pay, and how to handle employee fears of disease.