‘The Supreme Court judgment in the Pimlico Plumbers case has been hailed as a victory for workers in the gig economy – and a blow for organisations that rely on large numbers of ‘self-employed’ contractors. In fact, the judgment largely confirms what we already knew – that employment status must be considered on the individual facts of each case and what happens on the ground is more important than the wording of the contract.’
Law Society's Gazette, 25th June 2018
‘A provision in the employer’s staff handbook stated that where in any 12 month period the employee had taken a number of short term absences which together exceeded 21 working days, the employee’s line manager would discuss his attendance record with him, and only if those “trigger points” had been exceeded and the line manager had consequently acknowledged that there was a problem with the employee’s attendance would the line manager take the matter forward in accordance with the relevant attendance procedures. The handbook provided that all it provisions which applied to the particular employee and were apt for incorporation should be incorporated into the employee’s contract of employment. The provision in question was in a part of the handbook on ill health, which contained the following introductory words: “This chapter sets out your terms and conditions of employment relating to sick leave … [and] the management of poor attendance….” Seven employees, all of whom were employed by different agencies within the same government department and were subject to somewhat different but materially similar provisions, brought claims contending that those provisions were terms of the contracts of employment between them and their employer. The employer maintained that the provisions were not legally enforceable contractual terms but mere notes of guidance or good practice of no legal force. The provision in respect of cumulative short-term absences in the first employee’s documents was taken to determine the question between the employer and all the employees. The judge held that the provisions were terms of the employees’ contracts of employment, and made declarations to that effect. As a result the judge declared that a new policy of attendance management introduced by the employer in July 2012 had not been effective to vary the contractual terms of the employment contracts and was not contractually binding on the employees.’
WLR Daily, 14th April 2016
‘Is an employer ever required to dis-apply an absence management policy or delay dismissal, as a reasonable adjustment for disability? Recent decisions have suggested that the answer is no, but in Griffiths v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  IRLR 216, the Court of Appeal has redefined the correct comparator in a disability claim in a way which may make this easier for an employee to argue.’
Tanfield Chambers, 9th March 2016
‘The job of a telecoms engineer on long-term sick leave with little prospect of returning to work did not transfer to a new employer as he was not “assigned” to the team when the team he worked as a part of was transferred to another service provider, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed.’
OUT-LAW.com, 7th September 2015
‘In 2006, it was estimated that 35% of all GP consultations involved a mental health problem and by 2011 stress had become the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual workers. If these figures are not reason enough for employers to address their employees’ mental health issues, there are plenty more statistics that may convince them:
It is estimated that three in ten people will experience a mental health problem in any one year, and this figure is likely to increase.
Work-related stress costs Britain 10.4 million working days per annum, with a disconcerting 91 million days per year lost to mental health problems generally.
The Centre for Mental Health estimates that the total cost of mental health problems at work is over £30 billion a year.
When working long hours, more than a quarter of employees feel depressed (27%), one third feel anxious (34%) and more than half feel irritable (58%).’
Hardwicke Chambers, 11th December 2014
‘It was neither sex discrimination nor discrimination related to pregnancy or maternity leave to dismiss an employee for excessive absences due to post-natal depression that took place after her maternity leave had ended, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has found.’
OUT-LAW.com, 12th March 2014