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Employment legislation update: week ending 21 May 2021

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Adjustments to right to work checks extended to 21 June

On 12 May 2021 the Government guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks was updated to confirm that the temporary COVID-19 adjusted measures will continue until 21 June 2021, not 17 May 2021 as previously announced by the Home Office and referred to in the last update.

The new date aligns with the planned date for bringing in step four of the government's roadmap out of lockdown and allows employers to continue with digital right to work checks while social distancing is still in place.

Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guidance for various sections has been updated to reflect the further opening up of business on 17 May 2021. Employers will need to take into account the changes to their particular workplaces in order to ensure compliance as employees and customers return.

Restrictions on businesses and venues in England

New guidance issued on 17 May 2021. Following the reopening of a number of businesses a new guidance note has been published.

This reminds employers that:-

  • All businesses should still facilitate working from home as far as possible
  • All businesses and venues are required under health and safety legislation to follow the appropriate COVID-secure guidance for their sector
  • All businesses should demonstrate to their workers and attendees that appropriate health and safety measures have been taken e.g. publishing their risk assessment online or at the premises/event
  • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to leave their designated area of self-isolation
  • A self-isolating worker must notify their employer as soon as is reasonably practical of the start and end dates of their isolation period – it will be an offence to fail to do so

In relation to breaches of restrictions the following penalties may apply to businesses:

  • Fixed Penalty Notice starting at £1,000 for the first offence and rising to £10,000 upon repeat offences
  • Coronavirus Improvement Notice (minimum of 48 hours to introduce necessary measures)
  • Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice (the immediate closure or restriction of an activity within premises for a 48 hour period where rapid action is needed)
  • Coronavirus Restriction Notice and Prohibition Notice (which will require the closure or restriction of an activity for a 7 day period)

In relation to individuals:

  • Fixed Penalty Notice starting at £200 for individuals who participate in illegal gatherings
  • Fixed Penalty Notice of £10,000 for holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people indoors or 50 people outdoors

ACAS publishes report on estimated costs of workplace conflict

On 11 May 2021, ACAS published a report addressing the impact of workplace conflict on individuals and employers and the estimated costs.  


Key findings included:

  • Approximately 485,800 employees resign each year due to conflict at work 
  • Recruitment costs were around £2.6 billion to replace these staff each year
  • Lost output due to transitional issues was around £12.2 billion
  • Workplace presenteeism had a negative impact on productivity of between £590 million and £2.3 billion
  • Sickness absence from conflict cost £2.2 billion each year
  • The total annual cost of conflict to UK employers is £28.5 billion 
  • Management time spent dealing with potential and actual litigation is estimated at £282 million
  • Legal fees cost a further £264 million

Survey reveals 76% want "fire and rehire" tactics to be made illegal 

On 9 May 2021 the Guardian reported that a poll conducted for the GMB union has found that 76% of the UK public think that "fire and rehire" tactics should be banned, with 67% suggesting they would avoid buying goods or services from companies that used the controversial tactics. On 17 May it was reported that Labour and the TUC were calling for action to prohibit the practice.
In a statement made during a Commons debate on 27 April 2021, the government confirmed that it was still considering its response to a report on ' "fire and re-hire" published by ACAS. 

Do you require any more information regarding the Employment legislation update: week ending 21 May 2021?

If you have any queries regarding this update, please get in touch with our expert listed below who will be happy to advise you and visit our employment page for information on all of the services we offer.

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