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12 January 2021
In Higgs v Farmor's School ET/1401264/19, an employment tribunal has held that a Christian employee's beliefs that gender cannot be fluid and that an individual cannot change their biological sex or gender were worthy of respect in a democratic society and could therefore be protected beliefs under the Equality Act 2010.  Background Mrs Higgs is a Christian and was employed as a pastoral administrator and work experience manager by Farmor's School. In the first of those roles, she was responsible for overseeing students who had been removed from a class for being disruptive. The school's head teacher received an email from…

12 January 2021
Surprisingly, the position is not entirely clear. Section 87(4) provides as follows: "This section does not apply in relation to a notice given by the employer or the employee if the notice to be given by the employer to terminate the contract must be at least one week more than the notice required by section 86 (1)." On the face of it, where the notice to be given is three months, the conversion into weeks will depend on precisely when notice is given. For example, if three months' notice were given on 1 February then this would equate to 12…

12 January 2021
Can an employer request that an employee returning from maternity leave on a part-time basis (when they had previously worked full-time) pay back a proportion of their contractual maternity pay? For example, if they are returning to work for 50% of their previous working hours, they have to pay back 50% of the contractual maternity pay. Or is that less favourable treatment for a part-time worker? Putting aside any potential less favourable treatment argument, whether the employer is contractually entitled to do this will depend upon the terms of the employee's contract of employment and any policy on contractual maternity…

12 January 2021
A woman who only takes OML is entitled to return to work in the "same job in which she was employed before her absence". However, what if this is simply not possible, for example the business has changed significantly due to COVID-19 and the employee's role has changed substantially (for example, a large part of her workload has disappeared). It could be argued that the employee is redundant. But what if the employer does not want to dismiss the employee and wants her to continue in her reduced role? Will the employer still be liable under the MPL Regulations? An…

12 January 2021
On 5 January 2020, HMRC updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to confirm that employees may be furloughed if they are unable to work or are working reduced hours because of caring responsibilities which have arisen as a result of COVID-19. The amended guidance states that caring responsibilities include caring for: Children who are at home as a result of the closure of schools or childcare facilities. A vulnerable individual in the household. Employees in this situation are encouraged to speak to their employer about whether they plan to furlough staff. The changes come…

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