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Trial periods…. To pay or not to pay?

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Rising up through Social Media are outcries from predominantly younger people that they are being encouraged to undertake “trial periods” for no pay or in return for a meal (if a catering business) in the hope that they will gain employment.

How is this viewed in relation to Employment Law and why is this now hitting the media and being brought to Theresa Mays attention?

If Facebook and Tweets are anything to go by this now appears to be common practice in the retail and hospitality industries and its leaving those carrying out trials upset if no position is then granted.  Some young people report having full responsibilities and undertaking long and repeated shifts and appearing on rotas before being told they have not been successful in gaining employment.

If someone is working i.e. undertaking duties as if they are working, it is our opinion that the should receive the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate payable for their age and that a Tribunal would see the non-payment of this as an unlawful deduction despite no contract of employment being in place.

If, however you are taking them on a guided tour of the building and they are shadowing this may be a reasonable trial. The length of the “trial” is also of importance.  For a trial to be longer than an hour or two may not be seen as reasonable and for the trial person to appear on a rota in place of what otherwise should be a scheduled employee on contract, it is our opinion that this would add to a successful claim from the trial person that they should indeed receive pay for their contribution.

It is important not to confuse a trial period with workfare.

“Workfare is the name given to government schemes where unemployed and disabled people have to work in return for their benefits. The running of workfare schemes is outsourced to a range of public, private and voluntary sector providers, who sub-contract parts of their schemes to charities and community groups”.


** If you would like to discuss details of specific work trials you operate, please contact your Advisor **

New guidance in relation to Gender Pay Gap

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Gender Pay Gap reporting: (Compulsory for organisations with 250+ employees)

With deadlines fast approaching for the first gender pay gap reports (30th March 2018 for public sector and 4th April 2018 for private and voluntary sectors). Please find new guidance issued by the Government Equalities Office in relation to Gender Pay Gap reporting which aims to outline clear actions required by qualifying employers:

New guidance to managing redundancy for pregnant employees or those on maternity leave

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As ACAS issue their updated guidance in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Elcons too have developed further guidance and template checklists to assist businesses.

For full ACAS guidance visit:


** For further resources and specific advice, please contact your Elcons Advisor **

Failure to evidence eligibility to work in the UK could result to a jail sentence

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Additional penalties for failure to evidence eligibility to work in the UK

Changes take effect from April 2018 after which time a failure to demonstrate you have received documentation to provide evidence of an employee’s eligibility to work in the UK will not only result in fines, Directorships being removed and potentially a jail sentence (maximum term – 5 years), it will also now include a bar on the business being able to apply for Employment Allowance.

What is Employment allowance?

Businesses and charities can apply to claim Employment Allowance if they pay Class 1 National Insurance.  You may be able to receive up to £3,000 in any financial year.

New and current employees can apply for a grant to support them in the workplace

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“Access to Work” is a Government scheme whereby someone who are employed or may be about to start employment may apply for a grant to assist them practical support in the workplace where support is not available under the “Reasonable Adjustments” umberella.

An Access to Work grant can pay for:

  • special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
  • help getting to and from work

Further details on Access to Work can be found:


“On Tuesday 5 December 2017, court papers in a legal challenge were served on the Department for Work and Pensions over its introduction of the Access to Work cap, a measure which limits the amount of support that individuals can be awarded by the once flagship disability employment scheme”.

For the full article please visit:

Free early years entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit

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Eligibility for the free early years entitlement for two-year-olds under Universal Credit

This consultation explains the general principles taken into account in considering changes to the eligibility criteria for the free early education entitlement for two-year-olds in light of the introduction of Universal Credit.  The intention is that these entitlements reach less advantaged households in a way that is consistent, fair and simple.

The document also explains plans for communicating changes to parents, early years providers and local authorities, as well as the steps proposed to support their implementation.

** This consultation closes at 5pm on 15th January 2018 **

Does the employer continue to pay sick pay in the period between resignation and withdrawal?

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When an employee who is currently covered by a fit note resigns then reconsiders and withdraws the resignation – Does the employer have to continue to pay sick pay in the period between resignation and withdrawal, for example, resigned 1.10.17 reconsidered resignation and came back to work on 12.10.17, would sick pay be payable for the time between 1.10.17 – 12.10.17?


A resignation can be binding without being accepted by the employer, however, note that there are special circumstances where notice can be retracted. If the employer has accepted the retraction of the resignation by allowing the employee back to work, then the employment continues and the employee will be entitled to both statutory and contractual sick pay subject to the usual eligibility criteria.

Updated Guidance on Modern Slavery Act 2015

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If you are a commercial organisation that supplies goods or services from or to the UK, and has a global turnover above £36 million, you are required to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement each financial year.

Smaller organisations can volunteer to publish statements.

The statement needs to include how you have actively worked to ensure there is no slavery or human trafficking in your business or supply chains, or to state if you have taken no such action.

Please follow the link below to the Home Offices’ updated guidance: Transparency in Supply Chains. Although it’s a 46-page read, the guide sets out practical steps for business who are required to make a statement required by section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Employment Tribunal Fees Refunds

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Respondents who have paid a fee, or have been ordered to refund fees as part of a Tribunal Judgment, can claim a refund by completing the following form (and posting to the address on the form) by clicking the PDF link below:


Individual claimants can apply online by clicking and visiting the link below:


or by completing the following form (and posting to the address on the form)by clicking the PDF link below: