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Trade union relations

4 June 2020

As our schools begin to re-open, school leaders will inevitably face public scrutiny as they seek to keep the risks associated with new, socially distanced teaching methods to a minimum. Indeed, over the last couple of weeks we have received an increase in the number of queries received from clients in relation to risk assessments and to manage increased scrutiny from unions, the Health and Safety Executive and the media.

To help schools and academies comply with their legal obligations and keep both their staff and pupils safe we have provided the answers to the most frequently asked questions below.

 

Trade union relations FAQ

We have brought together a number of FAQs which will be of use to schools in the planning and preparations of re-opening schools:

In relation to Safety Representatives appointed by Trade Unions you do have an obligation to assist them in carrying out their functions, and this does include providing them with risk assessments, allowing them time to provide you with their feedback and taking into account their views before making any changes to working practices which impact upon the health, safety and welfare of employees.

The relevant Trade Union should inform you about who the appointed Safety Representative is and which members/employees they represent. This will allow you to enter into dialogue with the Safety Representative.

Each safety representative has the following functions:

  • To investigate potential hazards at the workplace,
  • To investigate any complaints by any employee s/he represents,
  • To make representations to the employer on general matters affecting the health, safety and welfare at work of the employees

Essentially the function of safety representatives is to represent employees in consultation with employers about health and safety matters.

Every employer must consult safety representatives in good time with regard to:

  • The introduction of any measure in the workplace which may substantially affect the health and safety of employees,
  • Any health and safety information s/he is required to provide to the employees s/he represents e.g. the risks identified from a risk assessment and the protective and preventative measures.

Employers are required to consult health and safety representatives about these matters before telling them what has been decided and before they make changes.

“In good time” is not defined but should allow time for safety representatives to express their views and for employers to take account of any response.

Training and events

10Oct

Training for Lead Safeguarding Governors and Trustees Interactive session via Zoom

This course runs over 2 x 90 minute sessions and commences with he first session at 4pm on the 10th October and then the 2nd session at 4pm on the 17th October. This tailored lead safeguarding course is designed specifically for your Lead Safeguarding Governor/Trustee. Building on our course for all governors and trustees, in this course delegates focus on the role of the Lead Safeguarding Governor/Trustee and the relationship with the DSL.

Session one: 4pm to 5.30pm on 10 October 2022 and
Session two: 4pm to 5.30pm on 17 October 2022

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11Oct

Autumn Regional HR Forums - Birmingham Microsoft Teams

We are pleased to invite you to join us at one of our next Regional HR Forum. The forums are aimed at those who lead the HR function in schools and academies across the nation.

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Focus on...

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In July 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited Judgement in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel relating to the correct calculation of statutory holiday pay for part year workers. This decision has implications for all part year workers on contracts which subsist all year round, whether their hours are normal or irregular.

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Published articles

Key steps to avoid falling foul of disability discrimination laws

The law around disability discrimination against pupils is not straightforward – but the reputational risk, let alone costs, of falling foul of the law are huge, so it’s worth upskilling staff whenever possible, as these two lawyers outline.

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Employment Law – Harpur Trust v Brazel – Implications for schools webinar

On 20 July 2022, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited judgment in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel, upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal. For those of you familiar with this case, you will know that it concerns the statutory leave requirements for part-time and part-year workers. For schools and academies whose workforce consists of a variety of types of part-time and part-year workers, this case is one that must be understood before any changes are applied. Come and join Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services as she puts questions to Ian Deakin, Employment Partner, and Sarah Linden, Senior Associate.

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Press releases

Leading education lawyers play major role as DfE announces 10,000th academy conversion

The Department for Education (DfE) have announced that the conversion of Donisthorpe Primary School in Leicestershire on 1st September marked the 10,000th academy conversion.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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