Shared Parental Leave

The Department for Business Innovation and Skill has published the Government’s response to the Consultation on the administration of Shared Parental Leave and Pay. Shared parental leave will allow eligible mothers and their partners to be absent from work to care for a child for a maximum of 52 weeks. The changes are due to be implemented by 2015.

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Zero hours contracts

The Government has published a consultation on zero hours contracts. The consultation questions the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts. These clauses ban a worker from working for other employers even when there is no work available with his original employer.

Due to a general lack of understanding, among both workers and employers, about the nature of a zero-hours contract, the consultation proposes several options to improve transparency, including better government information, advice, guidance and model clauses. Consultation closes on 13 March 2014.

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Disability discrimination

A recent Court of Appeal decision (Gallop v Newport City Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1583) cautions employers in relation to making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. The court held that, in this particular case, an employer was wrong to have followed an occupational health adviser’s opinion that an employee was not disabled, without considering it carefully itself. The adviser had stated, without explanation, that the employee, who had been signed off work for depression caused by work-related stress, was not “covered” by the disability discrimination legislation.

The case confirms that although occupational health assessments or other medical advice may be helpful when deciding whether an employee is disabled under the discrimination legislation, a responsible employer must apply its own mind to the test.

We hope that you found this newsletter useful; please note it covers the basics, but does not constitute formal legal advice. If you would like to discuss your individual case in more detail, please contact Irina Bernstein on 0207 843 1820 or send your email to