News and Events

Government reviews on balancing home and work

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1. Department for Education and Employment - Creating a Work-Life Balance
2. Department of Trade and Industry - Support for Working Parents
3. Recent EAT Decisions
4. Advertisement - Employment vacancy at Liberty


1. DfEE - Creating a Worklife Balance

The Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities, Margaret Hodge, announced new guidance this morning to help employers improve the working lives of all their staff. 

The DfEE also published the results of a survey amongst 7,500 employees. The key statistics are:

• 19% of employees with no caring responsibilities would like to work part-time - the same number as those with caring responsibilities
• 12% would like the option of a job-share (19% for those with caring responsibilities)
• 34% would like flexitime (37% for those with caring responsibilities), whereas only 24% of all employees currently work flexitime
• only 6% of all employees currently work a compressed hours week (fitting a full-time job into, say, 4 days not 5), but 33% would like to do so.
The new Guide offers advice to employers on how to set up policies and working practices which enable their employees to achieve a better work-life balance. The booklet, 'Creating a Work-Life Balance - a good practice guide for employers' is available from the DfEE on 0845 6022260, ref: WLBGPGE1


2. DTI - Debate on Support for Working Mothers

In a seemingly unrelated development (no cross-referencing appears in the press releases), the DTI has launched a debate about how working parents can be given more choices in balancing their responsibilities at home and work.

A discussion paper - 'Work and Parents: competitiveness and choice' was published today. Details can be found at . It is anticipated that a formal consultation paper will be issued later this year.


3. New EAT Decisions

Facey v Midas Retail Security [Lindsay P., 18th August 2000]

This case deals with the scenario where a litigant accuses a tribunal of bias. Mr Facey, who brought a race discrimination claim, engaged a representative who held no UK legal qualifications. At the beginning of the hearing, the representative alleged bias against the tribunal, invited the tribunal to discharge itself, and then both he and Mr Facey refused to participate further in the proceedings. Mr Facey subsequently appealed the (inevitable) dismissal of his claim and costs order.

Detailed notes of the hearing were provided by each of the two Respondents' Counsel, the chairman, both lay members and one solicitor. The Applicant's representative asked the EAT to order the chair and members to be cross-examined on their evidence. The issue was the competency and compellability of tribunal members to give evidence before the EAT.

Following a lengthy review of the authorities, the EAT held the following steps should be taken when allegations of bias are made against the members of a tribunal:

(i) The steps outlined in the EAT practice direction para. 9(3) should be taken, and unsworn comments may then be taken from the chair and, if necessary, lay members

(ii) the EAT may require sworn witness statements from persons other than members of the tribunal

(iii) the EAT may invite but not require the chair or members of the tribunal to provide sworn, written evidence in chief as to primary fact

(iv) in a suitable case it will be possible, after such an invitation, for adverse inferences to be drawn from a member's failure without good reason to provide sworn, written evidence in chief as to primary fact

(v) if, notwithstanding the material already collected, the EAT thinks that cross-examination would materially assist it, it may require the attendance for oral cross-examination of deponents not including the chairman or other members of the tribunal

(vi) the EAT is not to hear a member's cross-examination, even where the member has agreed to attend

(vii) the EAT is not to require the attendance of a member for cross-examination, nor to require disclosure of documents from him/her

(viii) the EAT is not to draw adverse inference from a member's failure to attend for cross-examination.


4 Advertisement - Employment Vacancy


Protecting Civil Liberties
Promoting Human Rights


Locum Legal Officer

Liberty wishes to recruit a Locum Legal Officer to start in late October for a period of 3 to 6 months.

The post holder will be responsible for undertaking test cases on Human Rights and Civil Liberties issues, both in domestic and European Court of Human Rights jurisdictions. Experience of taking such cases is necessary. The post is suitable for a barrister or solicitor.

The post is full time but applicants who can only work part time may be considered. Secondments will be considered.

Salary £22,600-£25,000.

Please apply in writing with c.v. to arrive on or by Friday 22nd September to:

James Welch
Legal Director
21 Tabard Street
London SE1 4LA