Thursday 17th June 2010

Employment Law Update

Welcome to our first employment law ebulletin. Our aim is to keep you up to date on significant developments in employment law as and when they happen.

The Equality Act – implementation delayed?

We’ve all been working towards ensuring that our businesses are compliant with the Equality Act, as we understood that the bulk of the provisions were due to be introduced in October 2010.  However, yesterday this was thrown into doubt when the Government Equalities Office removed the Act’s start date from its website. 

Whilst removal of the date hints that the Act’s implementation may now be delayed, does this mean that all our efforts have been wasted and the baby will be thrown out with the bathwater?  We think it’s pretty unlikely.

The Equality Act, as currently drafted, mostly consolidates what is already law, and therefore a well advised employer should already be acting in accordance with the Act’s provisions.  While there are some points to be aware of, such as the ban on pre-employment health questions, if the Equality Act remains as it is currently drafted, its date of implementation shouldn't have a dramatic impact on day to day practice.  

The Equality Act received Royal Assent on 8 April of this year which means that, at present, it will still be implemented, although possibly at a later date.  The Con-Lib coalition might seek to amend the provisions before its implementation, or even repeal it altogether, but only time will tell. 

Rest assured that we’ll keep you updated on any further advances on the Equality Act.   

Avoiding sick days to avoid redundancy?

Sickness levels are at their lowest since records began in 1987.  According to a recent CBI survey, employees took 180 million sick days last year, averaging 6.4 days each, down from 6.7 in 2007.

Could this be because in a recession, employees are conscious that sickness levels may be taken into consideration for the purpose of redundancy selection?  If so, then it follows that the decrease in sick days is a result of those employees who have remained in work making an effort to ensure that their sickness levels remain low.

With unemployment figures still on the rise, this trend may be set to continue.  However, what happens when the economy picks up again?  Will there be an army of employees off sick taking advantage of the better times? 

See our article for further advice:

Other articles

We also publish regular update articles on our website and via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Why not have a look at our recent article on the without prejudice rule and Compromise Agreements:

Or our realistic take on the impact of the World Cup on employee absence:

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As always, if you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or would like advice on any aspect of employment law, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team on 01243 836840 or

Please note that this ebulletin is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice.  The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.