“It’s important not to get caught out” – New SARs guidance for employers issued (June 2023 Newsletter)
Updates in Employment Law in June
ICO guidance on responding to Subject Access Requests
The Information Commissioner’s Office has released guidance on how businesses and employers should respond to subject access requests (SARs). It emphasises that SAR’s can be submitted informally, including over social media, and may not contain the words “subject access request” in order to qualify as a legally binding request. It reiterates that a worker’s SAR must be responded to without delay and within one month of receipt of the request; the time limit for responding can be extended by up to two months if the SAR is complex or there are a number of requests. Organisations should have a designated person, team and email address for SARs. The guidance also covers appropriate redaction to maintain a duty of confidentiality owed to another person/people and steps to seek consent from relevant individuals.
HSE warns employers to help workers exposed to the hot weather
Following a yellow heat – health alert issued by the UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office’s, the Health, and Safety Executive (HSE) has prompted employers to act in protecting their employees working both inside and outside from extreme heat. Although, there is no legal maximum temperature for workplaces, heat is considered as a hazard. The HSE are highlighting that everyone is at risk and employers should discuss changes with their workers to manage this. The HSE recommends measures’ such as, reducing exposure to workplace heat, offering flexible working patterns, access to drinking water, providing weather appropriate protective equipment, and sharing information about the symptoms of heat stress.
Read more about them in our blog here.
New laws protecting parents and carers receive Royal Assent: Parents and carers will soon benefit from the following new protections.
Employed parents whose children require neonatal care will be entitled up to 12 weeks of paid leave. This provision aims to alleviate the immense stress during this period by allowing parents to spend more time with their baby. The new right will be in addition to other leave and pay entitlements they may have such as maternity and paternity.
Additionally, redundancy protection will be extended to cover pregnant women and new parents who return to work.
Furthermore, unpaid carers will have the right to a week of flexible unpaid leave each year for dependants with long-term care needs. This will give carers additional time to effectively manage their caring responsibilities while maintaining their employment.
The government will have to introduce secondary legislation to bring these new laws into force and we will keep you informed of its progress.
Retained EU (Revocation and Reform) Bill
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill aims to abolish all EU law that is not specifically reinstated or replaced by the end of 2023. This may impact several EU-derived secondary legislations, including the Working Time Regulations, Agency Worker Regulations, and TUPE. There are concerns around whether the end of 2023 will provide enough time to reform these laws, although there is a potential extension to June 2026 but no later.
Read more about it in our blog here.
New workplace standard on menopause
The British Standards Institution, the UK National Standards body, has published a new standard providing guidance for supporting employees with menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace. The new standard (BS 30416) aims to provide examples of good practices and details practical steps that employers can consider, including a review of work design and workplace facilities. The guidance includes flowcharts of key questions to ask in relation to menopause-related support in the workplace, examples of adjustments for various roles and recommendations for fostering a supportive workplace culture.
Case of the month: (FF v Österreichische Datenschutzbehörde) – General Data Protection Regulation
Article 15 GDPR now requires copies of documents containing personal data, not just a summary table. This change may increase compliance costs and administrative burden for businesses.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has provided its provisional ruling on the meaning of ‘copy’ and the concept of ‘information’ in the context of obligations under the GDPR. The Court of Justice ruled that Article 15 of the EU GDPR requires a “faithful and intelligible reproduction” of all personal data, understood in a broad sense which is being processed by an organisation. The judgment notes that the term “copy” does not relate to a document as such, but to the personal data which it contains. Although not a binding decision in the UK, the decision may still be relevant in the UK. (FF v Österreichische Datenschutzbehörde)
By Suraj Purohit.
Employment Paralegal at Kalra Legal Group
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