In this newsletter we look at forthcoming legislation, case law judgements, ask the question of whether your Managers are actually Managing, and other elements.

We hope you find this information helpful, if you would like more detail on any aspect please contact us.  Don’t forget to take a look at our website to see the full range of our services.

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Legislation Updates / Case Law

Forthcoming Legislation 

Limits on non-competition restrictions – the government intends to limit the duration of non-compete post-termination restrictions in employment contracts (designed to provide business protection to an employer by seeking to restrict a former employee from undertaking employment with a rival competitor for a defined period following the termination of their employment) to a maximum of 3 months.  At present, there are no details about when the statutory cap will be introduced or how it will work.  The government is not proposing to reform an employer’s ability to use paid notice periods, gardening leave, or other forms of post-termination restrictions (such as non-solicitation or non-dealing covenants).

Flexible working – under existing law, employees must have accrued a minimum of 26 weeks of service before becoming eligible to submit a statutory flexible working request, a request can only be made once per year, and the employer must notify the employee of the outcome within 3 months. The UK government has announced its intention to make the right to request flexible working a day 1 right for employees. Under the proposals, employees also will be able to submit up to 2 requests each year, the requirement on the employee to explain any effect the request would have and how it could be dealt with will be removed, and employers must provide a response within 2 months. It is anticipated that the proposals will become law in early 2024.

Carer’s Leave – the introduction of an annual entitlement to 1 week’s unpaid leave for those who provide or arrange care for a dependent from the first day of employment.  It is due to come into effect no earlier than April 2024.

Extended Redundancy Protection – Employees on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave are currently afforded greater protection during redundancy processes.  Those at risk of redundancy have the right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancy that is available.  The government has proposed that these rights should be gained much earlier: from the date the woman announces the pregnancy and last for 18 months. This essentially means that employees who have returned to work within the last 6 months following maternity, adoption or shared parental leave will still have the additional protections in respect of redundancy.  It is due to come into effect no earlier than April 2024.

Neonatal Leave – the introduction of 12 weeks’ neonatal leave and pay for parents of premature babies who require specialist care in a neonatal unit.  The legislation will apply to parents whose babies spend 7 days or more continuously in hospital, before the age of 28 days. This would be in addition to the current entitlement to maternity and paternity pay and leave.  It is expected to come into effect no earlier than April 2025.

Break of Continuous Service – it is expected that there will be an extension of time required to break a period of continuous service from 1 week to 4 weeks.  No date is currently being given.

Plumber awarded £134,411 in compensation for disability discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal

Excluding work colleagues from WhatsApp group chats where messages are sent to other colleagues could be viewed as an “unfavourable act” and categorised as discrimination, a Tribunal has ruled, after a plumber was excluded from an online staff group while off work with a back injury.

B said he had been left out of a work chat created to “communicate important safety information” while employed by C.

The Tribunal heard that the 60-year-old, who had worked for the company since September 2016, began suffering from a lower back injury in June 2019.  Forced to take 15 days off work in February 2020, B was called to a “formal absence meeting” and given an occupational health assessment, where it was estimated he could return to work in two to three weeks.  However, B told the tribunal he was left “extremely depressed” when the recommendations made to accommodate his return were ignored.  The following April, he then sustained a further injury to his lower back, one he said resulted from a “failure to implement” the initial occupational health recommendations and from carrying out work he “had not been trained for”.

It was during a grievance meeting in August 2021 that B was then informed he had been “excluded from a WhatsApp group created to communicate important information to employees (including in relation to health and safety) because of sickness absence”.

B eventually resigned in December 2021, having received no correspondence from C regarding his grievance and denied full sick pay when his absence should have been categorised as an “industrial injury”.

The Tribunal said: “Some employers do not contact employees at all during sickness absence for risk of exacerbating their ill health or bothering them with work-related matters at a time when they should be recuperating, but that cannot be presumed and in the absence of evidence put forward I’m not satisfied that there was any justification for this.”

Are your Managers actually Managing

The Chartered Management Institute estimates that four out of five managers in the UK lack adequate preparation for the demanding responsibilities associated with managing the work, development and advancement of others in the organisation.  As such, many avoid difficult management activities and decisions around ‘people’, or do them completely wrong causing problems for the organisation.

Many employees have outstanding skills in the role they are undertaking and are then promoted into management as that is seen as the natural progression for them.  However, for many of these employees, no account is taken of whether they are, or perhaps ever will, be able to handle the ‘people’ side of leadership.  For some, it is a natural skill.  For others, it can be learnt with appropriate training and development, but for others it will never work.

Good recruitment practices can help identify those employees who may struggle to be successful as a manager.  Once in the role, managers skillsets should be reviewed, and whilst every individual is different it can be a good idea to implement a combination of training courses and mentoring to address any areas where development / improvement is required.

Training courses can be good at providing the tools / information provided to manage situations (e.g. disciplinary, capability, sickness absence, etc.), but mentoring can also help in terms of understanding the best approach.  For example:

  • When an employee comes to their manager with a problem, a manager’s typical response can be a command-and-control approach, providing solutions by telling or advising the employee on how to deal with an issue;
  • However, the manager has inadvertently prevented the employee from learning how to resolve the problem for themselves and does not engage the employee;
  • Managers need to be able to identify whether the situation is a coachable moment. Mentors can help managers think through questions like ‘is it an emergency situation?’, ‘is there the potential here for learning?’, ‘is the person open for this conversation right now?’ and ‘am I able to have this conversation now?’;
  • Deciding whether it is a coachable moment can happen almost instantly, giving the manager the option to choose how best to engage an employee to help them resolve a problem themself instead of fixing it for them;
  • Mentors can encourage managers to stop asking ‘why?’ questions all the time and instead start asking more ‘what?’ questions. Why-based questions can feel personal, like the employee is to blame somehow or that they’re being criticised, which can lead to defensiveness. Replacing ‘why’ with ‘what’ removes the personal inference from a question and focuses on the situation itself.  The employee is then more likely to be open to exploring specifics rather than feeling that they need to justify or defend their actions.

Over time this approach can help managers develop not only themselves but also their team members, resulting in better engagement and other positive outcomes for the organisation.


Operational Managers are key to a Company’s success, and how they work with and manage their teams is an essential part of this.

We have recently introduced an additional ‘1 to 1 HR Coaching for Managers’ module, Managing Investigations.  The full list can be seen below, all are delivered remotely via Microsoft Teams:

  • Being an Effective Manager / Responsibilities of a Manager;
  • Dealing with Misconduct (Discipline), Poor Performance (Capability) and Grievances;
  • Managing Attendance / Sickness Absence;
  • Managing Performance / Developing People;
  • Dealing With Conflict;
  • Managing Recruitment;
  • Managing Investigations.

Each module is focussed on the key elements involved, and takes around 1 to 1½ hours, with Managers also completing a workbook containing a number of questions and scenarios which is then analysed and feedback provided to ensure an in-depth understanding of the subject(s).

We also provide the following classroom based training courses (when social distancing rules allow) to help Managers deal with issues and people correctly to enhance your business:

  • Influencing Styles and Persuasive Negotiating;
  • Managing Conflict;

All of our courses can be tailored to suit your exact needs and delivered at your premises if required.

More details on all of the above can be found on our website.

Partner Services

We have long-term partnerships with key providers which enables us to provide other recommended services to our clients covering:

  • Legal Services;
  • Financial Services;
  • Health Insurance and Staff Healthcare Benefits;
  • Health and Safety.

Visit our website to see full information on our partners and their services.