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  • HR Heartbeat: The steakhouse causing beef with its staff, the new harassment protection law and...

HR Heartbeat: The steakhouse causing beef with its staff, the new harassment protection law and...

Find out the changes to the newly passed Worker Protection Bill, why the staff at Miller & Carter are petitioning, and how to handle the clocks going back and the never-ending train strikes.

First published on Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023

4 min read

Have you heard the latest news?

Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.

The beef between Miller & Carter and their staff

Miller & Carter have gone out of the frying pan and straight into the fire over a new tipping policy, and their staff are having none of it.

Allegedly the new policy states that all waiters must give up 1.5% of their total table sales and if tips don't cover the required percentage, it'll be deducted from future tips.

The percentage of tips taken from the wait staff will then be split between the kitchen, bar, and lower management staff—it’s no wonder they aren’t happy.

In response, their staff are taking action against the steakhouse chain by launching a petition to stop the new tips policy, and it’s quickly gaining traction.

Miller & Carter have reportedly stated that each branch ‘decides how tips are distributed’ through a vote. But has the damage to their reputation already been done?

For advice on how to avoid a situation like this, ask BrightLightning: Can I let staff keep their own tips?

All's well that ends well with The Worker Protection Bill

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill, which aims to strengthen protections for employees against discrimination and harassment in the workplace has now been approved by the House of Commons.

But not without some changes from the House of Lords…

The original Bill proposed that employers must take “all reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment and employers would be accountable for any harassment by third parties, such as customers and suppliers.

However, the House of Lords countered the original Bill and proposed changes to remove the third-party accountability completely and reduce the duty on employers.

Essentially, they removed the word “all” from “all reasonable steps” and suggested that instead, employers must take “reasonable steps.”

After consideration, the House of Commons approved the changes, so it will now become law once it receives royal assent.

Although it’s likely to be some time before it actually comes into force, it’s important to take reasonable steps—now and always—to protect your staff from sexual harassment.

For more advice, ask BrightLightning: What are reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment?

Tick tock the clocks are going back

As the end of British summertime approaches, the clocks will go back an hour at 2 am on Sunday 29th October. This means that some of us will be able to enjoy an extra hour of sleep, while others may have to work an additional hour.

It’s important for you to review your staff’s employment contracts to determine the right actions you need to take when the clocks go back.

If your staff are required to work the extra hour and are paid hourly, they should be compensated for the additional time worked. On the other hand, if your staff are salaried, they may not receive additional compensation unless it’s mentioned in your policy on overtime.

Read our guide: When to pay staff the extra hour, to find out how the clocks going back affect your business.

The never-ending story of more train strikes

Yep, you read that right, more rail strikes are on the way.

RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union members have cast their votes in favour of further industrial action.

The ongoing dispute over conditions and pay with all rail companies has lasted for the past 18 months and now shows no signs of resolution.

Although no new strike dates have been announced, the vote in favour of striking gives the RMT the power to determine strike dates in the lead-up to Christmas and beyond.

So, alongside having to deal with the influx of annual leave coming up over the holiday season, you should also take precautions for your staff members who commute by train. Just ask BrightLightning: What can I do to lessen the impact of the train strikes on my staff?

And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!

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