Saturday 8 January 2000

General news

1) Staff transfers in the public sector
2) Minimum wage frozen
3) Some light relief...
4) Ramesh Maharaj's employment law summary (attached)

1. Staff Transfers in the Public Sector
The Cabinet Office has issued a 26-page Practice Statement dealing with Staff Transfers in the Public Sector. It provides guidance on best practice for implementing TUPE transfers when contracting out, privatising, reorgansing and transferring from one part of the public sector to another and second generation contracting.

More importantly, it states that TUPE principles should be followed when reorganising and transferring within the Civil Service (where TUPE does not apply because there is no change in employer). It states (inter alia) that:
• as a general rule, when functions are transferred from one department to another, staff will be transferred with the work;
• departments should ensure that wherever possible the principles of TUPE are followed. Existing terms and conditions of staff cannot be changed unilaterally, despite different standard terms within different departments;
• staff and unions should be informed at the earliest appropriate stage of the reorganisation and transfer; and,
• over time, the receiving department may aim to move - through negotiation with staff - towards fuller alignment of the terms of transferred staff to those of the main body of the staff.
The full Practice Statement can be downloaded from

2. Minimum Wage Frozen
Those who read the newspapers cannot fail to have missed the leaked 'decision' that the government will not be raising the national minimum wage in line with inflation or the RPI this April. This has attracted a considerable amount of criticism. It is possible that the government may be flying a kite, to gauge the public reaction if there is no change to the minimum wage.

3. Some light relief...
The following report appeared in a recent edition of a Sweet & Maxwell news bulletin:

Solicitor loses sex fantasy claim Times, January 6, 2000, 3

An employment tribunal has rejected a sexual and racial discrimination action by a solicitor who was dismissed for using an office computer to keep an explicit diary of her sexual fantasies. She claimed that writing the diary was a stress relief device and comparable to taking cigarette breaks. The Chairman of the tribunal ruled that, whilst it is accepted practice for employees to use their work computers in the same way in which they use the telephone, the recording of sexual fantasies was not acceptable behaviour from employees.

4. Ramesh Maharaj's Employment Law Summary
Ramesh Maharaj is editor of Concise Law News on the Internet and has contributed to the New Law Journal and the Criminal Lawyer. His book 'Employment Law 2000' is due for release on 21/01/00. He produces a short quarterly summary of employment law developments, which is attached to this bulletin.

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