Policy News Journal - 2016-17

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals ……………………………………………………………Policy News Journal

That means that the taxpayer has picked up the tab because company directors have played fast and loose with the rules. This has to stop and I believe we need to see more criminal prosecutions of companies that behave this way."

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When staff handbook absence policy is contractual 25 April 2016

Is an absence management policy in a Staff Handbook 'apt for incorporation' into employee contracts?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal, on the facts in Department for Transport v Sparks , dismissing the Department's appeal against a finding that an absence management policy had contractual effect.

The case arose from a dispute as to whether certain parts of the Department's staff handbook were incorporated into employees' contracts. The Claimants (7 in all) had obtained a declaration in the High Court that certain clauses in the Department's Staff Handbook had contractual effect. The appeal focused on a short-term absence management policy, which, if contractual, restricted managers' scope for taking disciplinary action until specific trigger points had been exceeded, 21 days of short-term absence in any 12-month period. The Court reviewed the tests for the incorporation of handbook policies into employment contracts. Viewing the employment documents as a whole, the relevant introductory wording of the handbook pointed to a 'distinct flavour of contractual incorporation'. The fact that it might generally be a desirable feature of industrial management to handle absence matters through non-contractual policy would not prevent a particular provision from being 'apt for incorporation'. In contrast, a policy that was stated as forming a 'framework within which to approach such matters' would not be contractually binding. Practitioners may wish to note that the Court stated that with the handbook existing only in electronic form, it was far from satisfactory that various versions of it had been irretrievably deleted on updating without retaining previous versions.

With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin which provided the details of this case.

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Subject access requests: shorter timeframe under General Data Protection Regulation 26 April 2016

Employers may need to rethink the way they handle subject access requests (SARs) from staff to ensure they comply with new EU data protection laws that have been finalised.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will require employers to respond to SARs in a shorter timeframe than that which applies under existing UK data protection laws when it comes into force in the middle of 2018. The new timeframe will pose a challenge for employers that do not have a defined process for handling SARs. A failure to meet the deadline or provide employees with access to all the data they request could expose employers to a significant fine under the new Regulation.

If this change could affect you or your business, you can read the full details from Pinsent Masons on Outlaw.com .

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