Solicitors in Essex

Industry bodies call for Government to delay IR35

Company fined £1 million after worker killed in accident

Company fined £1 million after worker killed in accident

A refuge collection company has been fined £1 million pound by Canterbury Crown Court after a worker was run over and killed in an accident at a waste transfer station in Folkestone.

The court heard how Veolia ES (UK) Limited’s employee Mr John Head suffered fatal injuries when he was run over by a reversing refuse collection vehicle whilst walking across the yard, at the Ross Depot Waste Transfer Station in Folkestone. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident found that multiple vehicles, including RCV’s and articulated lorries were manoeuvring around the yard with no specific controls in place.

The company were found to have failed to adequately assess the risks involved in the yard and had not implemented any industry recognised measures to protect employees from harm.

London based Veolia ES (UK) Limited were found guilty after trial of breaching section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company were fined £1 million and ordered to pay costs of £130,000.

The HSE inspector Kevin Golding said: “This should be a reminder to all industries, but in particular, the waste industry, to appropriately assess the risks and implement widely recognised control measures to adequately control manoeuvring vehicles, in particular reversing vehicles and restrict pedestrian movements around vehicles.”

Jeremy Sirrell a Partner at Palmers and health and safety expert said: “This tragic accident could have easily been avoided had the required health and safety measures been put in place. If you are unsure about the safety measures your business is required to have in place it is important that you seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity.”

For help and advice on all aspects of health and safety law including putting in place strategies to protect your workforce, please contact us today.

Pregnant women to receive more employment protection under new Government plans

Pregnant women to receive more employment protection under new Government plans

The Government are proposing new rules that will help offer women who stop work to have a child greater protection against the threat of redundancy.

The new legislation would extend the legal protection against redundancy for pregnant women for six months after they return to work, whilst measures may also be introduced to protect others, including men, returning from adoption or shared parental leave.

A Business Department study found that one in nine women had been fired or made redundant when they return to work after having a child, or they were treated that badly that they felt they had been forced from their role.

It was also suggested that around 54,000 women could lose their jobs each year due to pregnancy and maternity.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “Pregnancy and maternity discrimination is illegal, but some new parents still find unacceptable attitudes on their return to work which effectively forces them out of their jobs.”

Prime Minister Theresa May also spoke about her unhappiness at the current situation. She said: “It’s unacceptable that too many parents still encounter difficulties when returning to work.”

“People in this country already benefit from some of the most rigorous workplace standards in the world, including parental leave and pay entitlements, but we are determined to do even more as we leave the EU.”

The Government has now launched a ten-week consultation on the proposals which has been welcomed by a number of consumer groups.

Jane van Zyl, chief executive of work-life balance charity Working Families, said: “We hear from women struggling with pregnancy and maternity discrimination every single day on our helpline.

“The proposals should go a long way toward reducing the shocking number of women who lose their jobs due to pregnancy and maternity discrimination.”

Samantha Cass an employment law expert with Palmers, said: “Currently too many women are experiencing problems with redundancy following a break to have a child. These new rules should help to offer greater legal protection and combat maternity discrimination.”

For professional and independent advice on any aspect of employment law, contact our employment team today.

New reporting measures governing top executive pay come into force

New reporting measures governing top executive pay come into force

New regulations have into force this month to make companies “justify their pay” for top bosses, the Government has revealed.

The new pay ratio regulations will apply to large UK listed companies with over 250 employees.

It means that, for the first time, UK companies will be required to disclose and explain every year their top executives’ pay and the gap between that and their average worker.

It introduces a new statutory requirement for UK listed companies to disclose annually the ratio of their CEO’s pay to the median, lower quartile and upper quartile pay of their UK employees, with the first disclosures starting from 2020.

The requirement will also ask large companies to report on how their directors take employee and other stakeholder interests into account and require large private companies to report on their corporate governance arrangements.

The changes in legislation follow calls from investors and shareholders for companies “to do more to explain how pay in the boardroom aligns with wider company pay and reward”.

Together, the changes form part of a packet of measures known as the UK’s modern Industrial Strategy.

Commenting on the announcement, Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Britain has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most dependable and best places in the world to work, invest and do business and the majority of our biggest companies act responsibly, with good business practices.

“We do however understand the frustration of workers and shareholders when executive pay is out of step with performance and their concerns are not heard.

“The regulations coming into force today will build on our reputation by increasing transparency and boosting accountability at the highest level – giving workers a stronger dialogue and voice in the boardroom and ensuring businesses are accountable for their executive pay.”

He added: “These new regulations are a key part of the wider package of corporate governance upgrades we are bringing forward as a government to help build a stronger, fairer economy that works for businesses and workers.”

Samantha Randall an employment law expert with Palmers, said: “These measures should help to combat the issue of many top executives at businesses receiving large bonuses and other payments that are not in line with the businesses performance.”

For professional and independent advice on any aspect of employment law, contact our employment team today.