in brief

This month’s news in brief

New rules for HSE prosecutions

The Health and Safety Executive has launched new criteria for deciding when
employers should be prosecuted for health and safety breaches. The policy
states this will normally happen when a breach results in death; when there has
been "reckless disregard" for health and safety requirements; and
where the standard of health and safety management is "far below" the
required level.

Arbitration reaps rewards for unions

Unions won three times more recognition agreements in 2001 than they did in
2000, according to the TUC. Twenty of the 470 new agreements came after ballots
through the Central Arbitration Committee, set up to police the new recognition
laws ushered in by the Employment Relations Act 1999.

See next month’s employers’ Law for an update on the union recognition
laws in practice

TA specialists on call-up for war against terror

Up to 140 Territorial Army intelligence specialists are to be mobilised for
up to six months to aid the war on terrorism. Employers affected by the
call-out can appeal under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 – three have appealed so
far. They can also claim payments under the act to cover recruitment of
replacement staff, agency fees, overtime pay and retraining.

Unfair dismissal compensation rises

The maximum compensation for unfair dismissal has risen from £51,7000 to
£52,600 as of February 1. Tribunals will be able to award it to individuals
effectively dismissed on or after that date.

Parental leave extended

Eligibility for parental leave has now been extended to parents of children
who were under five as at 15 December 1999. The newly eligible have three years
and three months from January 15 to take the leave. Parents of disabled
children have seen their leave entitlement increase from 13 to 18 weeks, and
this can be taken up until the child’s 18th birthday.

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