Read the latest from our Employment team in the July Update
Our Employment team have pulled together recent news and updates to help you and your business keep up to date, as well as the legal issues to watch out for over the coming months, within the Employment sector.
New Regulations Allow More Healthcare Professionals to Sign Fit Notes
New regulations have been put before Parliament which will allow registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists to sign statements of fitness for work, which are known as ‘fit notes.’
Individuals who are absent from work due to illness for more than seven consecutive days may need to show a fit note to their employer which will specify whether or not they are fit enough to return to work. To date, it has only been doctors that could sign fit notes. This change will take effect from 1 July 2022 in England, Wales and Scotland. It is being implemented in order to free up GP’s time to allow them to see more patients.
Employers may wish to consider whether they should update their Sickness Absence Policy in light of this change.
Improvements to Apprenticeships to Assist Employers
The Government has announced a number of further improvements and simplifications to apprenticeship schemes which will come into effect from August 2022. A copy of the Government’s announcement can be found here.
The Government is trying to simplify the system and reduce the bureaucracy surrounding apprenticeships. In order to achieve this, the Government has set out that they plan to:
- make it simpler for individuals to accelerate their apprenticeships;
- introduce a consistent baseline for off-the-job training;
- change English and Maths requirements; and
- provide a more efficient payment service for employers.
The Government plans to publish a final version of the improvements in July 2022.
Menopause Related Claims Nearly Double Over the Past Year
The organisation, Menopause Experts Group, has conducted an analysis of Employment Tribunal cases where menopause was cited, and has found that there has been a 44 per cent increase in this from 2020 to 2021.
There have been increasing calls for employers to do more to help women who are going through the menopause in order to prevent millions leaving due to experiencing serious symptoms. Menopause Experts Group have suggested that employers should offer employees training about symptoms, signs, and side-effects of the menopause.
In November 2021, an independent report commissioned by the Government in July 2021, found that almost one in four women were forced to leave work as a result of the menopause.
In light of this, employers should ensure that they have a specific Menopause Policy, or that menopause is featured in a Wellbeing or Code of Conduct Policy.
Prevalence of Self-Reported Long Covid Symptoms
The Office for National Statistics has found that two million individuals living in private households in the UK have been experiencing self-reported long Covid symptoms. 71 per cent of these people reported that long-Covid was affecting their day-to-day activities, and the most common symptom of long Covid was fatigue.
Employers should therefore be aware that although we are now in the age of ‘living with Covid’ that Covid will affect each and every employee differently. Employers should ensure that they make reasonable adjustments for any employees suffering with long Covid.