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[Employment Law List (1) Parental Leave referred to ECJ (2) Legal Aid in ETs

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1. TUC Parental Leave case referred to ECJ
2. Test case - legal aid in employment tribunals
3. Concise Law News


1. TUC Parental Leave case referred to ECJ

As subscribers will know, last week the High Court heard the TUC's application (argued by Cherie Booth) that the government had failed to properly implement the EC Parental Leave Directive.

The argument, in essence, was that the UK's Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 only granted rights to parental leave to parents of children born (or adopted) after 15th December 1999. This was the date by which the EC Directive had to be implemented. The TUC argued that the UK Regulations should have applied to parents of all children, irrespective of their date of birth.

The High Court has this morning referred the point to the ECJ. This makes the second case in two days (see yesterday's bulletin concerning Bowden v Tuffnells Parcels)!

I am told that the court (Bingham LJ and Morison J.) indicated that the TUC's argument seemed to be correct, but they thought the matter should be determined by the ECJ. They said that if "as we think" the government may have acted unlawfully then "the sooner this is made clear the better."

An application for an interim Order enabling excluded parents to take parental leave until the ECJ decides the matter was refused.

John Monks, general secretary of the TUC, described the judgment as "a clear moral victory for the TUC" and has invited the government to "back down" on the parental leave issue.


2. Legal Aid in Employment Tribunals

According to an article in The Scotsman (23/5/2000), a bus driver claiming unfair dismissal is challenging the government under the European Convention of Human Rights because legal aid is not available for employment tribunals (which he asserts is a denial of his right to a fair hearing under Article 6). Readers will be aware that the ECHR, which will be officially recognised in England from 2nd October 2000, is already directly enforceable in Scotland.

I have no further details about the case (except that the unfair dismissal case name is John Grant v Avondale Coaches).


3. Concise Law News

Following distribution of Ramesh Maharaj's employment law summary earlier this week, I received the following message from Emma Grace of Nelson & Co:

We subscribe regularly to your newsletter, which is very useful. I note the
summary which you include from Mr Maharaj. You might like to point out to
both him and your other subscribers that this contains inaccurate
information. The National Minimum Wage does not go up on 1st June for
adults and young people. The Young People's rate does indeed go up to £3.20
on 1st June. The rise from £3.60 to £3.70 for adults does not kick in until
October, as the DTI site makes clear.

Ramesh Maharaj replies as follows:

I have re-checked the point and the subscriber is correct.
The minimum wage for adults increases from 3.60 to 3.70 in October.
Sorry for the error.