To Ban or Not to Ban? Social media policies for today’s businesses

Sarah-Varani-150x150Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of social media or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them?!

Businesses should be committed to making the best use of all available technology and innovation to improve the way they communicate, reach out and interact with each other and their customers. The growth of the use of social media by customers may result in a corresponding expectation that businesses should also embrace it as part of their own working practices.

It is advisable for businesses to have a policy in place to help staff make appropriate decisions about the use of social media such as blogs, wikis, social networking websites, podcasts, forums, message boards, or comments on web-articles, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and any other relevant social media websites that are currently in operation or that may operate at some point in the future. The policy should outline the standards staff are required to observe when using social media, the circumstances in which monitoring of the use of social media takes place and the action that will be taken in respect of any breaches of the policy.
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Want to spend more time with your “little darlings”?

Sarah-Varani-150x150Changes to unpaid parental leave came into force on the 8th March. New mothers and fathers will be entitled to more unpaid time off work as their entitlement has increased from 13 to 18 weeks total leave per child. (This should not be confused with ordinary paternity leave, additional paternity leave or the Government’s newly proposed “shared parental leave” which is due to come into force in 2015.)

This is in response to an EU Parental Leave Directive, which was originally due for implementation in March 2012. The Government chose to defer making the change by taking advantage of the provisions under the Directive which allowed them to do so.
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The Bedroom ‘Tax’ – a welfare cut?

Debbie Haskell - LawyerWith the media counting down the days until the Welfare Reform Act 2012 implements the so called ‘Bedroom tax’, what is it and what does it mean for you?

Well, if you are in a job and not eligible for Housing Benefit, you won’t be affected at all. The changes will apply to either  Local Authority or Registered Housing Association tenants who are working and are claiming (or are eligible for ) housing benefit. Applicants are entitled to one bedroom for the following (if they fall into two categories only the first applies)

  • a couple
  • a person over the age of 16
  • two children of the same sex
  • two children who are less than 10 years,
  • a child,

There is no legally defined description of a bedroom and this has been left for the Local Authorities to decide.

Consequences? If the claimant’s home has bedrooms in excess of the new limits then their Housing Benefit is reduced by 14% for a single bedroom, increasing to 25% for 2 bedrooms or more.
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Employment law is constantly changing. Keep up-to-date and compliant with our key dates calendar

Sarah-Varani-150x150Key Employment Law Dates

1 February
The maximum amount of a ‘week’s pay’ for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal increases from £430 to £450. Guarantee pay will increase from £23.50 to £24.20 a day but still subject to a maximum of 5 days or £121 in any 3 months lay off/short time working. The maximum compensatory award for successful unfair dismissal claims goes up from £72,300 to £74,200.These new limits will apply where the date of dismissal or other event (e.g. lay off) takes place on or after the 1st February 2013.

8 March
EU Parental Leave Directive, regulations will increase unpaid parental leave from 13 to 18 weeks this will remain limited to a maximum of 4 weeks per year. Employees must still have 12 months continuous employment to qualify.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will repeal the provisions on third-party harassment and discrimination questionnaires in the Equality Act 2010 both amendments are expected to take effect in March.

6 April
Employers will have to start reporting PAYE information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in real time. This maybe referred to as Real Time Information – or RTI. Employers must set up payroll records for the new tax year using payroll software. Small employers can use HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools, which is designed for employers with nine or fewer employees, to report payroll in real time. Employers will no longer be able to use a manual payroll system, because they will need to report payroll information to HMRC electronically.

Statutory sick pay increases from £85.85 to £86.70 a week with the weekly earnings threshold increasing from £107 to £109.
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My baby – my rights? What are the rights of an unmarried father?

Debbie Haskell - LawyerAs a father you nurture your children, care and safeguard them from harm, but when families fall apart who is protecting you?

The results of the government’s National Census revealed that the number of people who were cohabiting had increased by 50% since 1996. But perceptions  have not evolve along with this change and there is still the misconception that if  unmarried couples live together for long enough  they acquire ‘common-law’ rights.

Furthermore it is the sad reality of life that sometimes a relationship is not meant to be and the couple decide separate.  No doubt some of you have been following popular soap opera Coronation Street where, along with other disturbing events,  a father is fighting tooth and nail to see his child.  Hopefully this article will dispel some myths surrounding the rights of unmarried fathers.

A parent’s legal rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in relation to their child are intrinsically linked with the recognition of their ‘parental responsibility’. Having parental responsibility means that you have the right to have a say in your child’s future – for example you can give consent to your child’s medical treatment or have a say in their education or what religious beliefs they are taught.
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Unmarried and living together? Know your rights

A recent article in the Guardian highlighted the lack of understanding  amongst many of the laws concerning the rights of unmarried cohabitating couples. The myth of ‘common law marriage’, whereby unmarried couples who have lived together for some time are afforded the same legal rights as married people still persists it seems.

We have written before on this blog about this subject and the role a cohabitation agreement (or ‘living together agreement’) can have in reducing conflict and confusion in the event that long-term cohabitees separate.

To recap, a cohabitation agreement allows unmarried couples to put in writing how they will manage their day-to-day finances like paying a mortgage, rent or bills and also to specify how their assets, such as property, money and belongings should be split if they were to separate.

Though not very romantic, it is the best way to ensure conflict and costly legal bills are avoided when unmarried couples separate. And, as more and more couples are living together and having children outside marriage, preparing for the future in this way is a sensible and safe option for many.

For more information, please visit the MyLawyer Law Guide or contact the MyLawyer legal team.