Navigating the workplace as a non-parent - A podcast with The Full Stop.

I hope you are all well and enjoyed a good start to 2024! It was a privilege shortly before Christmas to be invited as a guest on the monthly podcast for 'The Full Stop' to discuss 'Childlessness in the Workplace - the biggest diversity issue that no one is talking about'. I am delighted to enclose below a link to the podcast that was released last week. As both a HR professional and an EDI Specialist, I appreciate that this topic may be triggering for some, and I am aware of the many potential pitfalls in this area, not only legally and reputationally, but also the impact that this very sensitive subject can have on a workplaces employee relations, team morale, and overall workplace culture. At S.E. Hunter Associates ltd, we are pleased to be one of the early pioneers for this subject, supporting both parents and non-parents alike to consider ways in which to navigate this very emotive and sometimes challenging topic within the workplace. I hope that the podcast is informative and helpful. If I can be of any support on this topic (or any other), please don't hesitate to get in touch. Best wishes 

Sophie Hunter, Director, S.E Hunter Associates Ltd.

 A few words from 'The Full Stop'.

In this podcast episode, Sophie Hunter from S E Hunter Associates joins us for thoughtful discussion about the challenges that people without children face in professional settings, including workplace bullying and discrimination. We share personal experiences and emphasise the need for greater awareness, support, and genuine empathy from colleagues and managers. The conversation explores the differences in experiences between childless men and women, the importance of leadership training, and the potential for childlessness to become a protected characteristic. We share our advocacy for open communication, the creation of employee support networks, and encourage companies and business networks to foster an inclusive environment that values all employees regardless of family status.

Navigating the workplace as a non-parent — The Full Stop Community (



Are you either employed as or an employer of a Nanny? First day matters – Help us make the first day fantastic for you all!!

We are delighted to be working in partnership with our client Happy Nest to make the first day fantastic for nannies and families. Help us to better understand your needs by taking our short 3 minute read and quiz.

We all know how it feels to be starting a new job. Excitement, nerves, questions you don’t want to ask…..we’ve all been there, and its no different for Nannies and the Families that they are joining. At Happy Nest we want to make sure that those early days go as smoothly as possible, not just for the recruitment process, but also for the days and weeks running up to and after, the start date. We always want things to go as they should, so to help us to do this, we have teamed up with our S.E.Hunter Associates Limited, our Human Resources Provider and EDI Specialists, to find out what is important to you all in those early days. We would be grateful if you would answer the 8 questions set out below, time to complete is approximately 3 minutes. All responses got straight through to S.E.Hunter Associates Ltd, and are completely anonymous. Your time is much appreciated, and answers will help us better support our Nannies and Families, and ensure that the first day is fantastic for you all!!! 

Nannies please click here 

Families please click here


First Day Matters Nannies (


How to manage a request to cancel annual leave

Events of the last few years, wildfires, cancelled flights, travel companies in liquidation, and the lingering impact of covid will see many employers approached by employees wishing to cancel or amend their holidays.

With the recent devastation on the Greek Islands, and this week’s events regarding the fires in Hawaii, many due to fly out there in the coming days and weeks are going to be re-arranging their plans. But what does this mean for the annual leave they have already booked?

Considering a request to cancel

There are many reasons why an employee might want to cancel their pre-booked annual leave. It could be through their own choice, or due to circumstances beyond their control, such as is the case earlier this month on the Greek islands of Rhodes, Evia and Corfu where massive wildfires have caused holiday makers and locals to flee large areas of the islands, and Hawaii in recent days. However, as devastating as the reason may be for the cancellation, it is down to the employer’s discretion or internal policies as to whether or not the holiday can be cancelled, as the law is silent on this.

If a request to cancel a period of holiday comes in, you should consider whether you are able to. The circumstances may dictate your ability to agree; short notice cancellations may be trickier to cancel because you may have organised cover which cannot now be changed whereas if plenty of notice is given of the cancellation request, it may cause less disruption for you to agree to it. Whatever you decide, it must be reasonable. Failure to ensure this could lead to damaged employee relations and the possibility of problems in the future.

Where you cannot accept the cancellation request, you should consider if it is possible to allow for some of the days to be cancelled, as the employee could then take a shortened period of holiday and have the chance to take the remaining leave at another time. Either way, you should let the employee know as soon as possible that all (or some) of the annual leave remains booked and will come off their overall entitlement as originally planned.

Alternatively, you might be able to accommodate the request. If this is the case, this should be communicated to the employee and their outstanding leave entitlement be re-adjusted to include these days. However, when doing this, it should be made clear to the employee that they are still expected to take all of their annual leave in the current annual leave year, if you operate a ‘use it or lose it’ system. If some carry over is permitted, the employee should be reminded of the limitations of this.

What if the employee gets caught out?

For employees who find themselves stuck in a situation such as those who were already on one of the affected Greek islands when the wildfires took hold, or are now affected by the fires in Hawaii, cancelling the annual leave isn’t a practical option. They might even get stuck without a means of transport home, potentially beyond the date they were due to return to work. If you are an employer of an employee who is unable to return to work because of circumstances beyond their control, the following advice may be helpful.

Ideally, you should have clear rules in place that set out the notification requirements for employees who are likely to be unable to attend work or are likely to be late due to travel disruption. These rules should be flexible — the situation may be fast-changing and certainly beyond the employee’s control.

Clarify the position about pay and working hours to the employee — you are not under any legal obligation to pay the employee for this lost time (unless there is a contractual requirement to do so). You should seek to agree to some alternative working arrangements to cover this and any continuing absence. It is usual in these circumstances to ask the employee to take additional annual leave from their annual entitlement to cover the absence(s). Alternatively, you could ask the employee to make up the time upon return to work.

How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates Limited we can help employers respond to the needs of their employees in such circumstances, and help avoid confusion and conflict by establishing guidelines, policy and process. 

Some of the services we offer are as follows:

  1. Creation of Holiday Policy including policy and process on request to cancel
  2. Providing a one stop point of HR contact where you will have access to your own HR Business Partner, to answer queries via telephone and email in a personal and timely manner, to help respond to situations both general and in regards to an unforeseen national or international event (such as wildfires)
  3. Supporting effective communication via the production of letter templates to respond to a variety of holiday related scenarios
  4. Supporting with the grievance policy where an employee has been refused a request to cancel


If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the number or email below.


Dial: 07838184094

Human Resources and EDI Consultancy

Mental health of employees affected by rising cost of living

Increasingly, employers are introducing holistic strategies targeted at the health of the employee as a whole, and not just during their working hours.

This approach includes both proactive and reactive measures designed to mitigate and / or remove the impact of factors that can lead to poor mental health and overall wellbeing.

These can include initiatives, policies and procedures aimed at:

  • Physical health
  • Physical safety
  • Mental health
  • Financial wellbeing

There was a time that the duty of care of employers was focused almost exclusively on health and safety, stress, and absence management. These issues all have one thing in common - they have a direct and measurable impact on the workplace. A shift has occurred, however, more recently, whereby a more holistic approach is taken to the protection and promotion of the employees as an individual. This is known as 'wellbeing'. 

Poor mental health is a serious issue that affects a growing number of individuals. Employers are therefore encouraged to incorporate mental health support into their wider wellbeing strategy, and follow an approach that proactively seeks to avoid mental health issues developing, and supports those in cases where poor mental health has developed. 

The mental health of nearly half of British workers (47%) has suffered due to the rising cost of living, a new survey carried out by ACAS has revealed.

Participants were asked: “To what extent, if at all, would you say your mental health has been affected negatively by the rising cost of living?” In reply, 10% said significantly and 37% said moderately.

According to ACAS Chief Executive, Susan Clews, employers that create an environment where staff can openly talk about their mental health are better equipped to support them at work and offering practical tips such as signposting to financial advice can also help.

“Employees should also take steps to look after their own mental health and have coping strategies in place,” she went on. “ACAS has advice and training on how to support and manage mental health and wellbeing at work.”

ACAS advice for employers

With regard to managing staff mental health, employers should:

  • be approachable, available and encourage team members to talk about their problems
  • keep in regular contact with their team to check how they are coping
  • respect confidentiality and be calm, patient, supportive and reassuring if a staff member wants to have a chat about their mental health
  • consider whether someone may need adjustments at work, eg working more flexibly to save on costs
  • look after their own mental health and get support if they feel under more pressure than usual — this support could be a colleague at work, a mental health network or a counsellor
  • clearly communicate the internal and external support available to staff — this can include offering practical help such as signposting to financial advice or bringing advice providers into work.



  • Employee wellbeing should be approached holistically, caring for the physical, mental, and even financial health of individual employees. 
  • Wellbeing and mental health support should be incorporated as part of an organisation's people strategy.
  • They are both relevant throughout the employee lifecycle, with employee's offered support for their wellbeing and mental health at every stage of their career with the organisation. 
  • Focusing on wellbeing and mental health can bring many benefits, including increased retention and productivity, and decreased absenteeism. 

How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates Limited we can help to embed measures to help employers consider the wellbeing needs of their employees. 

Some of the services we offer that can help with this are as follows:

  1. Addressing problems in culture that prevent a proactive approach to employee wellbeing
  2. Ensuring systems are in place to support the needs of employees who may be struggling with any element of wellbeing.
  3. Training managers on how to manage difficult conversations
  4. Training on how to provide reasonable adjustments
  5. Creating policy on:
    1. Supporting employees who are victims of domestic abuse
    2. Physical health
    3. Mental health
    4. Financial wellbeing
    5. Addiction
    6. Discrimination or harassment relating to mental health
  6. Introducing ‘Stay Interviews’
  7. Creating employee action plans to improve employee wellbeing


If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the number or email below.


Dial: 07838184094

Human Resources and EDI Consultancy



Bullying and harassment when working from home

Bullying and harassment when working from home

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) are currently highlighting to employers that Bullying and harassment can still happen when employees are working from home. For example, through social media, emails, phone calls or online chat.

ACAS stress that examples of bullying and harassment that can happen remotely include:

  • inappropriately stopping someone from coming to meetings or activities
  • putting humiliating, offensive or threatening comments or photos on social media
  • putting someone down in meetings
  • revealing sensitive personal information
  • spreading false rumours
  • Not acknowledging an individual’s request to speak on line/i.e ignoring the ‘hand up’ icon

Employers should include guidance on use of different communication methods, including social media, in bullying or disciplinary policies. This should clearly set out what behaviour is unacceptable.

How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates Limited we can help to navigate the legal obligations concerning the prevention of Bulling and Harassment for Home Workers and help employers achieve their obligations under the Equality Act 2010. 

Some of the services we offer that can help with this are as follows:

  1. Updating/creating policy on bulling and harassment to include specific reference to bullying remote workers
  2. Creating policy on the use of social media both in and outside the core working day
  3. Awareness raising on what bullying and harassment can look like day-to-day for both in-house and remote workers
  4. Create Bullying and Harassment policy and process to incorporate and specify remote workers 
  5. Create/update disciplinary and grievance procedures
  6. Deliver training to employees and managers as to what constitutes Bullying and Harassment in the workplace and for remote workers

If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the number or email below.


Dial: 07838184094

Human Resources and EDI Consultancy



Working with Wolverson 
X-Ray  Ltd – the 2023 AGM

It was wonderful to attend the AGM at Wolverson X-Ray Ltd last week. As the HR support for Wolverson, it was the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together and to meet and mingle with all their employees in a relaxed setting.

Directors Graham, Frank and Andy were keen that the AGM be an opportunity to not only talk about the company’s highs and lows in recent times, but to thank their incredibly talented and committed staff for all their hard work, innovation and resilience over the last 12 months.

We arrived at Wolverson at approx. 10am where we were fabulously greeted by Archie the Spocker Spaniel, the dog of one of the Directors and a regular (and very popular) visitor to the building. We were given drinks and floral garlands to get us in the holiday mood, which was quite apt for the 28 degree day ahead of us!

The AGM itself began in the marque just outside the building, with free following beer, wine and nibbles. The Marque was beautifully decorated.

With so many of Wolverson X-Ray team being off site engineers based around the country, it is a rare opportunity that everyone gets to be together and chat in a face to face relaxed atmosphere.

The Directors presentation highlighted the hurdles both Wolverson alongside many other businesses had faced in recent years, including GDPR, Brexit, Covid, Economic instability, Government instability, Russia/Ukraine conflict and GBP loss of value (SKR, US DOLLAR, EURO). Graham acknowledged the level of pressure for many organisations at the moment was high and gave heartfelt appreciation for the efforts of all staff over the last few years. 

The company data, profit, loss and significant achievements of the company was them presented, followed by a presentation from Sales, and then a presentation from us at S.E Hunter Associates Ltd about the HR services that we provide, and how we envision HR practice over the next 12 months for Wolverson X-Ray.

The day was then finished by food, more drinks, a few pub-style quizzes and lots of laughter. It was overall a lovely day that left the team feeling motivated and enthusiastic for the year ahead.

Thank you so much to everyone at Wolverson for making us so welcome and to be part of this fantastic day, we are looking forward to being part of your team!

For more about Wolverson and the work they do visit r - Wolverson X-Ray Limited

Being Childless in the workplace - a hidden and growing diversity issue

S.E Hunter Associates Ltd are delighted to announce that Storyhouse Chester have asked our Director Sophie Hunter to come along and discuss this often hidden workplace diversity issue, as part of their  weekend event 'Storyhouse Childless' 23rd and 24th September 2023.   Sophie will be joined by a panel of childless people to discuss their shared experiences of dealing with childlessness in the workplace: a hidden and growing diversity issue.

She’ll be sharing her top tips and advice to help childless people overcome the common issues they might face at work.

Please see below for more information regarding the event

💫 Announcing: Storyhouse Childless 2023

23 – 24 September at Storyhouse: A weekend of events to explore living without children.

✨ Build community

🎤 Share stories

🌃 Raise awareness

🤝 Make connections.

🎫 £20 for a weekend pass or £5 tickets for individual events

Don't want to come alone? Limited free add-on tickets for supportive friends.

🗨️ “It will be a rewarding weekend in the company of others – a chance to talk, make new friendships and share experiences.” Nicola Haigh, Community Manager

#ThisHouseIsYourHouse #WorldChildlessWeek









Storyhouse Childless returns this September, and for 2023 it has been expanded to run across a whole weekend. 

The annual event – this year taking place on Saturday, 23 September and Sunday, 24 September – is aimed at all those who are childless for whatever reason, including those who are childfree by choice.  

Now in its third year the events give those involved the chance to explore living without children, to build community, share stories, make connections and raise awareness. 

Storyhouse Childless 2023 will feature a series of talks, panel discussions, performances and a live podcast. 

The weekend opens with a welcome and introduction from Dr Dawn Llewellyn, Associate Professor in Religion and Gender at the University of Chester, who worked with Storyhouse and the city’s branch of Lighthouse Women – the support network for childless women – to first bring the event to Hunter Street in 2019. 

It will be followed by a talk titled Pursuing Purpose: a life without children is not a life without meaning, involving Caroline Stafford, founder and owner of innovative bakery the Kitsch Hen, The Hollow Sea author Annie Kirby, Irish-based writer Nicole Louie, and meditation, writer, and life coach Bindi Shah. 

This year’s keynote speaker is award-winning author, arts producer and adventure activist Jessica Hepburn who will talk about The Power of Adventure to Change Your Life for the Better. Jessica is one of the UK’s leading voices on fertility and family as well as endurance sport and has become a pioneer in inspiring people to live big and bravely when life doesn’t go to plan, championing the benefits of adventures -  no matter how big or small - to improve your physical and mental health.  

There will also be panels on Finding a Community in Elderhood; Men, Childlessness and Creativity; The F Words – Friends and Family as well as Childlessness in the Workplace. 

Among this year’s guest speakers are Jody Day, often called the ‘founder of the childless movement’ with Gateway Women; researcher and writer Dr Robin Hadley; Andy Harrod, co-founder of the Community of Childless Men; founder of World Childless Week, Steph Phillips; singer-songwriter Bransby; Ali Hall, blogger and the face behind the Childfree-by-Choice Twitter account; Kirstie Higgins, host of the Chester Lighthouse Women group, and Katy Schnitzler, founder and lead training consultant of MIST Workshops, which supports organisations working on pregnancy loss, infertility and childlessness. 

The weekend also features Calm After the Storm – an immersive musical story of Involuntary Childlessness from Childless Voices, a performance from Singer/Songwriter Bransby in The Kitchen, and a live recording of the Full Stop Community Podcast

Nicola Haigh, Storyhouse’s Community Manager, says:One out of every five adults  remains childless, and research suggests of those, 60% feel uncomfortable discussing that they need more support. 

“This is why programmes like Storyhouse Childless are so important, and why Storyhouse is pleased and proud to be able to present the annual event, now in its third year. 

“For 2023 we have drawn together a brilliant line-up of guest speakers and experts to talk about a wide range of issues and experiences around being childless and how that affects people, whether that be in terms of family, work or just in living their everyday lives. 

“I know anyone who is thinking of attending will find it a rewarding weekend in the company of others – a chance to talk, make new connections, and share experiences.” 

Storyhouse Childless is on Saturday, 23 September and Sunday, 24 September. 

A weekend pass is £20 while tickets are also available for individual sessions, costing £5. There is also a number of funded tickets for people who would like to attend with a supportive friend. 


Pursuing Purpose: a life without children is not a life without meaning 

Date: Saturday 23 September  

Time: 10.15-11.30am 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 


The Power of Adventure to Change Your Life for the Better 

Date: Saturday 23 September 

Time: noon-1pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 


Finding a Community in Elderhood 

Date: Saturday 23 September 

Time: 2.15-3.15pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 


Men, Childlessness and Creativity 

Date: Saturday 23 September 

Time: 3.45-4.45pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 


Our Healing Voice – Calm After the Storm 

Date: Saturday 23 September 

Time: 5-5.30pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: Free 


Live Music from Bransby 

Date: Saturday 23 September 

Time: 6pm 

Venue: The Kitchen 

Tickets: Free 


The Full Stop Community Live Podcast 

Date: Sunday 24 September 

Time: 10.30-11.45am 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 


The F Words – Friends and Family 

Date: Sunday 24 September 

Time: 1-2pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 


Childlessness in the Workplace 

Date: Sunday 24 September 

Time: 2.30-4pm 

Venue: Garret Theatre 

Tickets: £5 

Storyhouse is one of the UK’s foremost cultural centres incorporating a library, theatres and a cinema. It is one of the country’s most successful arts buildings, with more than one million customer visits each year.  






Parents and carers to be given new protections at work

Three government-backed Private Members’ Bills, which have now received Royal Assent, will provide new employment protections for parents and unpaid carers.

Business Minister, Kevin Hollinrake, said: “We know how stressful it can be for parents caring for a new-born in neonatal care, or someone who is trying to juggle work with caring responsibilities, and these additional protections will ensure they get the support they need.”

Shocking research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), he went on, has showed that approximately one in nine mothers were either dismissed, made compulsorily redundant or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their job.

In addition, charities have been calling for further support for carers, highlighting that they should not have to struggle between caring for the ones they love and working to provide for their families.

The new legislation

The following three Acts will, once they come into force, provide new protections in these areas.

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act will allow eligible employed parents whose newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act will allow the extension of existing redundancy protections whilst on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave to also cover pregnancy and a period of time after a new parent has returned to work.

The Carer’s Leave Act will create a new statutory unpaid leave entitlement for employees who are caring for a dependant with a long-term care need.

Mr Hollinrake confirmed that the Government will lay down secondary legislation “in due course” to implement these new entitlements.

How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates Limited we can help to navigate the legal obligations concerning parental and carers leave.

Some of the services we offer that can help with this are as follows:

  1. Creation of new policy, or amendment to existing leave policies
  2. Facilitation of training sessions for management to understand an organisations new responsibilities
  3. Formation of checklists for dealing with an employees request regarding leave for caring responsibilities
  4. Advising process for return to work for employees following time off for dependants

If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the number or email below.


Dial: 07838184094

Human Resources and EDI Consultancy


Key risks for organisations when considering redundancies

Campbell v Tesco Personal Finance PLC - Redundancy: restructure 2023

In these challenging times it is unfortunate that many businesses will face the possibility of making employees redundant. This is often a difficult decision, and never taken lightly with employers seeing this as a last resort to protect their businesses and organisations long term.

However, the above recent case  published 2nd May 2023 served as an important reminder for employers of the need to always return to the wording of the law, and only progress with a redundancy dismissal where there is a genuine cessation or diminution of work of a particular kind. This can be difficult to establish, especially where a restructure means the number of teams reduce and additional responsibilities are added to job roles.

Following the outcome in this case, it is clear that the test to be applied, regardless of how teams around it are organised, is whether or not the work of the pre-restructure post has either stopped entirely or diminished post-restructure, or if it continues to need to be done.

When making redundancies in the course of a restructure, employers must establish that the ‘work of a particular kind’ has genuinely ceased or diminished before concluding that a redundancy is necessary. It is not sufficient evidence to show the amalgamation of teams and the addition of functions to an existing post; employers must show there is less work of a particular kind. 


Section 139 Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) (as is relevant to this case):

(1)For the purposes of this Act an employee who is dismissed shall be taken to be dismissed by reason of redundancy if the dismissal is wholly or mainly attributable to—

…(b)the fact that the requirements of that business—

(i)for employees to carry out work of a particular kind,…have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish.

Murray v. Foyle Meats Ltd [1999]

The House of Lords emphasised the importance of applying the unvarnished words of the statute to the issue of whether or not a redundancy situation exists. The relevant question for the purposes of section 139 ERA is whether the requirements of the employer for employees to carry out work of a particular kind have ceased or diminished.

Packman v. Fauchon [2012]

A redundancy situation can arise from a re-organisation which enables the same amount of work to be performed by fewer employees or within a shorter number of working hours.


The claimant worked for the respondent between March 2010 and August 2019 as a Risk Manager. Prior to her dismissal, the respondent operated three risk teams, Commercial Risk, Customer Risk and CIO Risk. The appellant worked within the respondent’s Commercial Risk team.

A review of the business was undertaken in 2018 with a view to cost savings. A decision was made to consolidate within the risk function and have only two teams moving forwards. One of the teams would continue as before, and from the other two a new team would be created. This left the claimant and another risk manager at risk of redundancy.

In the new structure, there was a new Centralised Controls Testing Team, which had within in it one new position of Lead Risk Manager and another post of Risk Manager. The claimant understood at the time that a redundancy was necessary because only one person was needed to lead the team. The other post of risk manager would be a vacancy that needed to be filled.

A selection process was carried out, and a scoring matrix used. The claimant scored the lowest, and despite her attempt to challenge her score, she was dismissed as redundant in August 2019.

A claim of unfair dismissal was raised.


The claimant argued that that the that redundancy was not “procedurally fair, genuine, adequate or effective”. This was because the number of risk managers remained the same after the re-structure as before.

However, in assessing this claim, the ET did not directly ask itself if the redundancy was indeed a genuine exercise or not, despite section 98 of the ERA putting the burden on the respondent to prove that it was.

The ET ultimately found that the two risk manager posts under the old structure had been replaced by two new risk manager posts within the new structure, one of which had a leadership function. In those circumstances, it was held held that there was a redundancy situation, that the reasons for the dismissal was redundancy and that the dismissal was fair.

This was appealed.


On appeal, the EAT asked the ET the following questions in order to clarify its reasoning. These are extracted from the judgment below: 

1.       “What was the basis for the Tribunal’s finding that the impact of the re-structuring exercise was a reduction in the number of Risk Managers from three to two?”

The ET responded that there were three Risk teams in three areas of the business, to be reduced to two following the reorganisation.

2.       “On what basis did the Tribunal conclude that a redundancy situation existed within the part of the restructuring process that involved the claimant…?”

The ET concluded there was a redundancy situation because the “old” structure of the teams was deleted.

3.      “Specifically, since the selection ‘pool’ under consideration comprised only [of two Risk managers], and two risk manager vacancies existed in the new structure, on what basis did the Tribunal conclude that a redundancy situation (in terms of section 139 ERA) arose?”

The answer to this question was on similar lines to the above, with the ET pointing to the deletion of the old structure of three teams creating the need to place the claimant and another Risk Manager at risk of redundancy, should no suitable alternative employment be found.

The ET went on to say that in the new structure, suitable alternative employment did exist, with one role of Lead Risk Manager and one role of Risk Manager. However, it was not possible to match the two risk managers to the new posts because they were not the same as their old posts; one was more senior than the other and required the post-holder to “lead the team”. Therefore, the ET concluded, the claimant was made redundant because her post was deleted from the structure.

The EAT rejected the reasoning of the ET above, by focusing on the “unvarnished words of the statute”, specifically section 139 ERA, where it required of the employer “for employees to carry out work of a particular kind have ceased or diminished.”.

The EAT acknowledged that there is not always the need for a reduction in headcount for there to be a redundancy, nor that there need be a diminution in the amount of work, when the result of a reorganisation is that the same amount of work can be performed by fewer employees or within shorter working hours. However, it was essential to return to the words of section 139 and for the ET to consider whether or not they genuinely applied to the case.

In upholding the appeal and remitting the case to a fresh ET for further consideration, the EAT held that the original ET had erred in law in not properly applying the statutory test for redundancy, as it was not enough that one of the new roles had a leadership function. The ET had failed to assess whether or not the amount of risk management work had ceased or diminished, and instead focused solely on the reduction in the number of team.

How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates Limited we can help to navigate the legal obligations concerning redundancy and help to ensure that employers do not fall down the many potential pitfalls that can emerge.

Some of the services we offer that can help with this are as follows:

  1. Management of full consultation for making redundancies
  2. Formation of redundancy toolkits and checklists 
  3. Management of all written correspondence 
  4. Provide face to face meetings to support both to the employee and employer
  5. Management of any resulting grievances or appeals
  6. Creation and implementation of a redundancy policy

If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the number or email below.


Dial: 07838184094

Human Resources and EDI Consultancy


Massive Thanks to Happy Nest 23/5/23

Massive thanks to Happy Nest Nanny and Maternity Recruitment his morning for inviting us to appear in their blog. We love working with you.

Standard Contracts v Tailored Contracts – Our support for Happy Nest. – Happy Nest (

About Happy Nest – Happy Nest (

Team Happy Nest

We’re a well-established nanny agency that provides only the best in service, staff and after-care. As an agency, we go above and beyond in finding the perfect fit for your family, guiding you through the process, and looking after all the details.

Whether you’re looking for an extra pair of hands during the day or need to get the work and family balance right, help before and after school until you return from work, or flexible working patterns to cover shift-working, we can help. If you need a nanny that can also help with cleaning, with your business, or is bilingual, we can help there too. Whatever your childcare needs.



Women in the workforce found to be suffering in silence

May 2023

As we near the end of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, a Deloitte report, Women @ Work 2023: a Global Outlook finds that women continue to feel uncomfortable talking about mental and personal health challenges in the workplace, with many struggling with menstruation and menopause symptoms.

Now in its third year the report surveyed 500 women in the UK and also covers Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa and the United States with a total of 5000 women taking part.

New to the report this year, the research revealed that when it comes to menstruation and menopause, many employees suffer in silence: more than a quarter of women (28%) experiencing symptoms related to menopause and 40% with symptoms related to menstruation, work through pain without taking time off.

Women in the UK experiencing challenges related to menopause are more likely than their global counterparts to work through pain (30% in the UK compared to 20% of global respondents).

Also in the UK, more women feel they are expected to go into the workplace despite flexible workplace messaging (35%, an increase of 21 percentage points since 2022), whilst flexible working is still not an option for 29% of women.

There is, the report highlights, a correlation between flexibility and employer loyalty: those with flexible work arrangements said that they plan to stay longer with their employers than those without (39% compared to 27%).

Flexibility is a top deciding factor for women who have recently left an employer (17%) and for women who are considering leaving their current employer (25%).

Jackie Henry, Managing Partner for People and Purpose at Deloitte UK, said: “Our research shows that there is a stigma around discussing mental health and women’s issues in UK workplaces, but it’s concerning to see that this has worsened in the last year. The research highlights how important it is for employers to actively listen to the needs of women — and, crucially, take action to create an inclusive culture, where everyone feels their health concerns are addressed.”

Lessons for employers

It can be daunting for an employee to share details of their health, particularly with sensitive conditions like fertility, so it’s important to create a culture of open communication and support.

Doing so allows employees to ask for the help they need, which in turn contributes towards increased productivity, satisfaction and retention. Employers should also ensure that all senior members of staff are trained on how to discuss health conditions, particularly sensitive issues, in the most effective and empathetic manner.

Managers who are not given adequate support and resources to hold such conversations may unintentionally cause more harm than good, so it’s really important that attention is given to this area.


How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates Limited we can help to provide support to promote inclusivity, and assure employees as to their value and worth in the workplace. Preparing, informing and training Organisations, Managers and Leaders on how to ensure both the practical support and information necessary to support staff facing these situations will help to keep your organisation running effectively with a productive and compassionate culture.

Some of the services we offer that can help with this are as follows:

  1. Creation of an employee support toolkit to address the following:
    1. Menopause
    2. Endometriosis
    3. Menstruation
    4. Fertility
  2. Creating a Menopause policy
  3. Support employees struggling with infertility and fertility treatment
  4. Creating policy related to ensuring reasonable adjustments under Equality Act 2010 with regards specifically to women’s health
  5. Creating checklists and process for reasonable adjustments
  6. Support with undertaking investigations, disciplinaries, grievances and performance management where menopause or menstrual related conditions may be a factor
  7. Organisational participation in breaking stigma such as celebrating awareness events as Menopause Week and Endometriosis Awareness Month.

If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on the number or email below.


Dial: 07838184094

Human Resource Management and EDI Consultancy



Mental Health Awareness Week - 15th May to 22nd May

ACAS produces guidance on reasonable adjustments for mental health.

ACAS produces guidance on reasonable adjustments for mental health

Between 2013 and 2022, two million more disabled people joined the UK workforce. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that a mental health condition was given as a reason for absence in 7.9% of absences in 2022, which equates to roughly 18.5 million sickness days in 2022 As a result, many more employers therefore have had to get to grips with their duties under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA) to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace to remove or reduce any disadvantages created because of a disability.

The charity Mind reports that one in four will experience a mental health problem each year in England, some of which will meet the EqA definition of disability and require reasonable adjustments. Below explores the latest ACAS guidance on workplace reasonable adjustments for mental health, and what it means for employers.

Disability and the duty to make reasonable adjustments

Mental health can be a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA), where it has a substantial and long-term effect on the ability to perform day to day tasks. An employee may fit this definition. If so the employer has a duty under the EqA to make reasonable adjustments at work to remove or reduce any disadvantages faced as a result of the disability. These can include:

  1. making changes to the building or premises
  2. changing the way in which work is done
  3. providing specialist or specific equipment

These adjustments must be reasonable, considering how:

  1. effective it will be in helping them do their job
  2. practical it is to do it
  3. how much disruption, if any, would be caused to the business or other people by making the adjustment
  4. how much, if at all, the adjustment would cost, while considering the size and resources of the company.

ACAS guidance on mental health reasonable adjustments

ACAS have recently released guidance on reasonable adjustments for mental health in the workplace that will be of assistance to employers. This was created to help employees stay in work whilst recovering from or managing a mental health condition. 

Acas recommend following this guidance even where employees are not disabled under the EqA as “…simple changes to a person’s working arrangements or responsibilities could be enough to help them stay in work and work well”. (Acas guidance).

Reasonable adjustments

The ACAS guide provides a number of examples of reasonable adjustments, depending on the individuals needs and the size and resources of the company. The broadly fall into the following categories:  

  • changes to someone's physical working environment
  • changes to someone's working arrangements
  • finding a different way to do something
  • adapting the way policies are applied
  • providing equipment, services or support

Managing employees with reasonable adjustments

ACAS also offers guidance to employers in managing employees with reasonable adjustments for mental health, in recognition of the fact many line managers may not feel comfortable addressing this. They might not know what to say, find it difficult to see how the condition is affecting the employee, or do not know what their obligations are. However, managers play a crucial role in the success or failure of reasonable adjustments due to their close relationship with their direct reports.

Employers should therefore support the employee’s manager in supporting the employee. This should be on the need to be flexible and provide ongoing support, and not expect improvements immediately or consistently, as mental health conditions can fluctuate in their severity. The manager will need to open to trying different approaches until something is found that works for everyone. Regular check-ins are a good way to do this.

Seeking external support should also be encouraged, where appropriate. If the employer has an employee assistance programme, then counselling and guidance may be available through that. An occupational health review could also help identify reasonable adjustments. There may also be charities and other organisations that are able to assist in helping this employee to stay in work.

How can we help At S.E.Hunter Associates limited?

At S.E.Hunter Associates limited we can help to navigate the legal obligations of the Equality Act as well as preparing and informing Organisations, Managers and Leaders on how to ensure compliance and support to keep your organisations running effectively with a productive and compassionate culture.

Some of the services we offer that can help with this are as follows:

  1. Training for Managers on the Reasonable Adjustment requirements
  2. Unconscious bias training
  3. Bystander Training
  4. Bullying and Harassment training
  5. Macro and Micro aggressions training
  6. Creating policy for absence management, reasonable adjustments, anti-bullying policy for mental health, 
  7. Creating checklists and process for reasonable adjustments
  8. Support with undertaking investigations, disciplinaries, grievances and performance management where disability may be a factor

If you would like to discuss any of the above further please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.


Your essential HR guide to the King's Coronation

There are a number of HR issues that will arise as a result of the King's coronation on 6 May 2023, and the extra bank holiday on 8 May 2023. Below, is your essential guide to how to deal with them. 

Coronation day

Opening or closing your business

Do you have to close your business on the day of the King's coronation

It is not likely that any businesses will be required to close on the day. Those businesses which normally open on a Saturday will have to consider any changes to their normal arrangements in terms of staffing. Some businesses may decide to close, perhaps because they predict they will have no custom, or because they would like to give their employees the day off to watch the ceremony, but that will be at the discretion of employers.

Pay on the day

Should employees be paid extra for working on coronation day?

This will depend on the contract of employment so you should always check there to make sure the employee is paid correctly. Employees working on that Saturday who do not usually work on a Saturday may be entitled to more pay so that is worth checking. It is not likely that any contract will provide for extra pay for an employee who normally works on Saturdays in these circumstances.

Annual leave on coronation day

Do you need to give staff the day off?

Essentially, no. It’s not a bank holiday so it will be a normal working day for all those who would normally work on a Saturday, or who are rota'd on for working. You should apply your normal decision-making process on whether or not to allow annual leave to be requested on the day, or if you will have to decline it.

For some businesses, they may see a spike in their trade on the day, or weekend, of the coronation, especially those in the hospitality industry. This may mean as many staff members as possible are needed in work.

Can you stop staff taking annual leave?

Yes, the usual rules will apply to annual leave around the coronation. Employers can designate days on which no annual leave can be taken by giving the minimum amount of notice on this. The amount of notice required is the same as the number of days in question e.g. if no leave would be allowed on one day, one day's notice is required. In practice, the more notice, the better. Employees will therefore know that if they ask for annual leave on that day, it will be declined.

Do you have to let employees cancel annual leave if their plans have changed because of the King's coronation?

If your open on the day of the King's coronation, you may get employees asking to cancel their pre-booked leave so that they can work instead because their plans have changed. You do not have to agree to the cancellation request, in which case the employee will still take the leave as they had originally planned.

It's advisable to agree wherever possible but if there are business reasons which would mean that the cancellation would cause disruption e.g. if you have already organised cover for the employee and it can't be changed, then you should inform the employee that you are unable to accept the cancellation request.

Celebrating the coronation at work

Can staff watch the coronation at work?

Whether they can or not watch the coronation will depend on your operational requirements; but you should consider what flexibility you can build in.

You may be able to organise a showing of the ceremony at work either in a common room or by allowing employees to watch it from their desks if there are TV screens around the workplace. It's important to note that you will need a TV licence registered at the workplace if you are to show it on television. You could agree with the employees that they take longer breaks and make the time up later on or on another day, or change their start, finish and break times so that they can watch it. If it isn't feasible to watch the ceremony, you may agree to have the radio on and listen to the proceedings.

Can you hold a party to mark the King's Coronation?

It's completely up to you whether you arrange a party in the workplace to mark the Coronation of King Charles III. Whether you hold it outside of work time or during work time is also up to you but if it is during work time, you would need to be clear with employees on what your expectations are for their productivity and performance whilst still being able to enjoy the festivities.

It's best to keep in mind that not everyone will want to take attend a Coronation party so don't force everyone to be involved. If you're serving food and drink, make sure that there is a variety of types to cater for dietary requirements, for example, vegetarian, vegan and halal options. If you're serving alcohol at an out of working hours party, be sure to provide non-alcoholic drinks too, as well as reminding employees about acceptable behaviour and the potential consequences if this does not happen. 

Coronation weekend

Alcohol licensing laws have been for the weekend of the coronation, so many hospitality businesses will want to open for longer. 

Can employees be made to work?

You should check employee contracts to see where you stand in terms of flexibility on working hours. If your contracts state that employees may be required to work overtime or extra hours, or may be subject to a rota change, then it may be a reasonable instruction to require them to work extra hours, though you should take individual circumstances into consideration first, like childcare issues.

If there is no such flexibility in contracts, you can start by simply asking employees if anyone would like to work the extra hours and earn more money. If this doesn't provide a solution, consider offering an enhanced rate of pay, or extra paid time off elsewhere in the calendar as an incentive. If you still find that the extra hours aren't covered, you could consider using casual staff, or agency workers. 

It may be useful to review contracts for any new staff to ensure that flexibility on working hours is built in.

Bank holiday Monday 8 May

Is the bank holiday for the King's coronation treated the same as other bank holidays?

Yes, it should be. Most contracts are written in the context of the standard number of public/bank holidays in a year (8 in England/Wales and 9 in Scotland) but exact wording, and therefore exact entitlements, can differ from contract to contract. If a contract in England says employees are entitled to time off on "8 public/bank holidays" per year and lists those days, there is no automatic entitlement to time off on the extra Bank Holiday. If the contract says employees are entitled to paid leave on "all public/bank holidays" in a leave year, they will have a contractual entitlement to the extra day. Even where contracts do not entitle employees to the day off, you may choose to offer it as a paid day of leave anyway. If you are not closing on Monday 8 May, you can ask employees who want the day off to make a request in line with the normal annual leave procedure.

What if too many employees want the bank holiday off? 

If your employees have to book time off if they want a bank holiday off, and you've had a lot of requests for a day off on the Coronation Bank Holiday, it's likely a Bank Holiday is treated like a normal working day in your business which means you will need to think about the same things for allowing time off on this day as you would any other day. You will need to balance time off with your need to operate effectively on the day. If you are able to extend normal annual leave caps where possible, you should consider this so that employees can celebrate the occasion.

However, employees should realise that it is a request that they have put in and so there is the possibility that it will be declined and they will be required to work. Most employers deal with annual leave requests on a first come first served basis; this ensures fairness across the system and enables you to keep constant track of how many people you have off at any one time.

What if you already have too many people off on the bank holiday, but an employee asks for time off because their child's school is closed?

There are a few things that you could consider to make sure that everyone's needs are met. Because the employee has the right to take time off for dependants if there is an unexpected breakdown in their childcare arrangements, the employee may have no other option but to take the day off under this statutory right if they are unable to make alternative arrangements, which will then impact your operations on that day, so it would be best to try to find some other arrangement so that they can still work.

If the role is one that can be carried out from home, you could agree that they work from home on that day. Alternatively, you could check in with employees who have leave booked to see if there is anyone willing to change their plans, although they shouldn't be forced to. Offering a small incentive may encourage them to agree to work for that day. You could also see if there is anyone from another department or team who is working on that day who could cover for the employee in order for them to take a day of annual leave.

Women in Employment -First ever Menopause Employment Champion appointed

The government have announced that it has fulfilled its commitment made in the official responses to both the ‘Independent Menopause and Employment: How to enable fulfilling working lives’ report and Women and Equalities Select Committee Report on ‘Menopause and the Workplace’. Appointed by the Department for Work and Pensions, Helen Tomlinson, Head of Talent (UK & Ireland) at The Adecco Group, has agreed to undertake this voluntary post.

What is a Menopause Employment Champion?

As set out in the above, this role is designed to “…give a voice to menopausal women, promoting their economic contribution, and working with employers to keep people experiencing menopause symptoms in work and progressing.”, and is part of a cross-government commitment to take a holistic approach to the menopause.

A key focus with this role will be to encourage the development of internal menopause policies by organisations, with a focus on helping women going through the menopause to remain in employment and continue to progress their careers.

Why is this post needed?

Newly appointed Menopause Employment Champion, Helen Tomlinson, has explained what she hopes to achieve with this role:   

“I have witnessed the transformational power that opening up conversations on the menopause can have in a workplace. By creating safe spaces by educating management and creating allies across workforces, women can be supported and empowered to manage their symptoms and thrive in work.

Less than a quarter of UK businesses currently have a menopause policy, but as I take on this role, I am determined that my generation of women in work will break the menopause taboo and have confidence that their health is valued.”

Research has found that those struggling with serious menopausal symptoms take on average 32 weeks sickness absence from work, and 1 in 4 women have considered leaving their job due to the impact of the menopause.  With women over 50 representing the fastest growing group within the workforce, and a third of the working age population over 50, failure to implement support measures for the menopause could lead to a significant loss of talented and valuable employees.

What will the Menopause Employment Champion do?

Aside from encourage the development of organisational policy, as mentioned above, action will also be taken to develop workplace support and to raise awareness of menopause in the workplace. The government have already suggested this could include:

  • Offering more rest breaks to those affected by symptoms
  • providing a choice of uniform in a more menopause friendly design


Changes to National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage from 1st April 2023

The national minimum wage (NMW) applies to all workers and is paid at different rates according to age. There is a separate rate for apprentices, and a National Living Wage (NLW) that applies to workers aged 23 and over. In November 2022, the government announced that it has accepted the Low Pay Commission recommendations for NMW and NLW. The current and future rates for the minimum wage (which represents gross pay) are as follows. /-_-/res/e94db090-6e38-4e22-b3d9-ec340c7d36b5/binary/files/e94db090-6e38-4e22-b3d9-ec340c7d36b5/366e4d13-0751-4902-b4ee-ad73b8e560ca

2022: case law review

2022 saw a number of important decisions passed down by the courts, that have changed how employers have had to deal with a number of issues. In this article, we round up some of the most important decisions from last year.


Harpur Trust v Brazel

This case looked at the calculation of holiday entitlement for part-year workers, who were permanently employed, and asked – should their annual leave be pro-rated according to how many weeks they actually worked?

The answer was, to the surprise of many, no. The Supreme Court held that the ‘percentage method’, where at least 12.07% of the hours worked were given as annual leave was actually incorrect. Instead, employers are to give these workers their a full 5.6 weeks entitlement, with pay based on their average weekly earnings.

There may be some employers who owe their staff back pay where they previously used the incorrect method and have had to change their holiday processes moving forwards.

Smith v Pimlico Plumbers Ltd (Court of Appeal)

As a self-employed contractor, Smith had not been given holiday pay during his employment. He did, however, take unpaid leave from time to time. So, question was – could he claim for the holiday pay?

The Court of Appeal said yes, relying on the earlier case of King v Sash Window Workshop, where it was held that where no holiday had been taken because the worker was not permitted to, it would carry over indefinitely. In Smith, it was held that where leave had been taken, but not paid for, this could also be carried over indefinitely and therefore he was entitled to back pay for the full amount of holiday accrued during his employment.

This case is another reminder for employers of why it is so important to get employment status right from the outset of the relationship, so the individual can be given the rights the law requires.

Agency workers

Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd v Kocur (Court of Appeal)

This case considered the following AGWR regulation:

Reg 13(1) providing that during an assignment an agency worker had the right to be informed by the hirer (or end user) of any relevant posts available with them, to give that agency worker the same opportunity as a comparable worker to find permanent employment with the hirer;

The claimant argued this implicitly gave them the right to apply for these posts. The Court of Appeal, however, found that the right was simply to be informed. To do otherwise would give agency workers equal rights to those directly employed by the hirer, which was not the intention of the regulations.


Rodgers v Leeds Laser Cutting Ltd (Court of Appeal)

The claimant worked in a large warehouse with minimal staff, which stayed open during lockdown. Mitigation measures were in place to manage the virus, following government guidance. However, the claimant said he would stay off work ‘until the lockdown had eased’ as he did not want to risk bringing Covid home to his family. He was dismissed and brought a claim for automatic unfair dismissal on the basis of his ‘reasonable belief’ that the warehouse posed a serious and imminent threat to his family’s health.

This claim failed, partly because whilst he was worried about covid, his actions suggested otherwise (he worked in a pub during lockdown). He also failed to specify why the workplace was unsafe: He agreed that social distancing was possible and couldn’t say why other measures were not enough.

It was found that whilst the pandemic could give rise to circumstances that could reasonably be believed as posing serious and imminent danger, this was not established in this case. 

Burke v Turning Point Scotland (Employment Tribunal)

Here, the court held that long covid could be a disability under the Equality Act 2010, as the impact of long covid on the individual resulted in a substantial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities for a number of months, and his prognosis was uncertain, making it reasonable to assume it was likely to last for a year or more, and therefore would fit the definition of disability under that Act.

Quinn v Sense Scotland (Employment Tribunal)

In this case, dismissal took place two and a half weeks after the employee had started to feel the effects of covid. As such, at the time of the dismissal, there was no indication that this would develop into a case of long-covid, and therefore the claim for disability discrimination failed.


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