A March Miscellany

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Disciplinary Procedures

ACAS has published a revised Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. This was prompted by an EAT decision questioning previous guidance about the reasonableness of an employee's request to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing. The new guidance indicates employers must agree a worker's request to be accompanied by any companion from within the specified categories (paragraphs 14 - 16 and 36 - 38 of the new code).

The Draft Zero Hours Workers (Exclusivity Terms) Regulations 2015

These were published on Wednesday. They support the proposed ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts by protecting workers from detriment (which isn't defined). The protection is a right to complain to the Employment Tribunal - if you can afford the tribunal fee.

In an interesting exercise in pushing legislative boundaries the draft regulations extend the ban on exclusivity to all contracts of employment under which the employee is paid less than £20 per hour.  At face value this introduces a massive new right to flexible working. I'm reflecting on whether the implications are more perceived than real and in the meantime the government seems to have more to say because it has announced a new review of employment status.

Long Term Visas

Migrants coming to this country for more than 6 months have their passports endorsed with a vignette confirming the class of visa and the length of stay. It's clear and simple. A new process is being introduced under which migrants will be given a letter confirming their right to enter the UK and a separate passport vignette valid for 30 days. After coming here the migrant must go to one of 200 designated post offices (with the letter and their passport) to collect an identity card which will be their visa. If this is not collected within a set time the visa will be cancelled. Note that the letter and the 30 day visa are not evidence of the migrant's right to work.

Visitors Visas

15 classes of visitors visa are being merged on 6 April to create a reduced range of 4 visas; the permitted activities under the old Business Visitor Visa (soon to be called a Visitor (Standard) Visa) are slightly extended; Student Visitor Visas are re-branded Short Term Study Visas and Parent of a Child at School Visas are rebranded Parent of a Tier 4 (Child) Student Visas. It's difficult to see this as anything other than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.