The UK government has published the Employer’s Charter, which aims to summarise 11 employers’ rights under employment law.
In response to the Employer’s Charter, Owen Warnock, partner at international law firm Eversheds comments: “As a simple and clear summary of key employer rights in the workplace, the Employer’s Charter is to be welcomed particularly if it helps smaller companies, who may not be confident of their rights and obligations, when dealing with their employees. The Charter may also nail some urban myths in the workplace, for example, an employer is entitled to contact a women absent on maternity leave to ask when she plans to return.
“However, as a short document, the Charter is inherently selective and incomplete, for example, it does not address employers’ powers to deal with the costly problem of employee absence. In addition, the 11 rights come with a caveat in the introduction, namely, that the employer is only entitled to them if they “act fairly and reasonably”. This is the issue which creates the most uncertainty for employers – will an employment tribunal agree that their actions are fair and reasonable? This is why measures to reform employment tribunals, also announced by the Government today, are so important to employers.”