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Employee Update - April 2021

13 Apr 2021

This bulletin includes important updates in the laws and regulations that might affect your business and includes recommendations to help you stay compliant.

Read on to ensure your business is operating safely within the law

  • Uber loses driver court case: what it means for you
  • Employee sacked for face covering refusal loses tribunal case
  • COVID-19: furlough changes; interim laws extended; more financial help
  • New minimum pay rates from April

Uber loses driver court case: what it means for dental teams

The Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers have 'worker' employment status, rather than being self-employed. It is a case that has important wider consequences,
particularly if your business uses any self-employed staff – in short, if there's any dispute about their status, your contracts may carry less weight than before.

Employment status and rights

Employment law recognises 3 categories of working individuals:

Employees: those providing services under an employment contract for a wage/salary, who must do the work themselves and work when required while under their employer's control and supervision.

Self-employed contractors: those who manage and control their own business, providing expertise to clients.

Workers: those employed by a business under a contract to personally provide work or services, but who do not necessarily have to accept work when offered it (meaning they are not employees). However, the business is not their client or customer (meaning they are not self-employed).

Employees have the most legal protection, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed, to receive statutory redundancy pay, to various forms of paid family leave, plus all the rights given to workers and self-employed contractors.

Workers have less protection, but still have some significant rights, such as receiving the National Living/Minimum Wage, rest breaks, paid annual leave, plus all the rights given to the self-employed.

Self-employed contractors have the least protection, which is mainly limited to health and safety and anti-discrimination.

What did the Supreme Court do and why?

Previously, courts looked at the contract between the parties and assessed if it reflected the day-to-day reality of how the individual worked.

However, the Supreme Court said that the contract is not the starting point. It said that the purpose of employment legislation is to protect vulnerable workers from unfair treatment.
Because of that, it should first look at  the reality of the situation.

In the recent  Uber case, it agreed that

  • The drivers were workers because they were both subordinate to and dependent on Uber:
  • Uber dictated the contractual terms to the drivers, who had no say in them.
  • Uber controlled many aspects of the working relationship: they set the charges; controlled what the driver could do and see (e.g., they were not given passenger destinations until they accepted the trip); restricted communication between passengers and drivers; prevented drivers from sharing contact details; and didn't allow drivers to offer a distinctive service. As a result, drivers had little chance to earn more through professional or entrepreneurial skill – working longer hours was the only option.
  • Uber monitored drivers by checking their rate of acceptance and cancellations, warning them if these fell below a certain level. It also penalised them if customers complained or if they hadn't followed the route set by the App, and used customer driver ratings to manage their performance.

Though drivers owned their own car and had to insure it, Uber vetted the choice of car.

Although the court did not rule out considering contractual terms, it said they should not be heavily relied on, particularly if they do not fit with what's actually happening.

What does this mean for you?

A key point that affects all businesses is the downgrading of contractual terms from a starting point, to just a factor for courts to consider. Now, cleverly worded contracts that look to avoid adverse decisions about an individual's employment status will be ignored if the reality is something different.

It is now even more important to ensure that staff contracts match the reality of how staff work, particularly for self-employed contractors.

Avoid anything that puts too much control on self-employed staff, or forces them to be overly dependent on you. If you cannot, then think about whether they are more suited to  an employment contract instead.

 

Employee sacked for face-covering refusal loses tribunal case

An Employment Tribunal has backed an employer who dismissed an employee for refusing to wear a face-covering while working on-site at a customer's premises.

The case

The case involved a delivery driver who was tasked with making deliveries to one of his employer's key customers. That customer had its own health and safety policy that required face coverings to be always worn on site. The driver refused and was consequently banned by the customer, who informed the employer.

As a result of this incident, the employer investigated and held disciplinary hearing, finding that the employee was guilty of misconduct. They then dismissed him without notice.

What the tribunal found

At the subsequent tribunal, 2 rules in the employer's Employee handbook were particularly relevant. All employees were expected to:

  • be courteous and pleasant to customers; and
  • take all reasonable steps to ensure both their own health and safety and that of people they encounter, and – specifically – to comply with any customer instructions regarding their own on-site requirements for the use of personal protective equipment.

The tribunal found that the driver had:

despite being made aware that it was a site health and safety rule, repeatedly refused the customer's requests to wear the face covering (stating he wasn't required to do so by law);

during the investigation, continued to insist that he had done nothing wrong; and

due to his conduct, been permanently banned from accessing the main delivery site for which he was employed.

Importantly, the employer followed a fair procedure by:

  • conducting a reasonable investigation.
  • getting evidence from all witnesses.
  • giving the driver multiple opportunities to give his side of the story after providing him with the evidence against him, and
  • allowing him to have a friend present during the disciplinary hearing to help with any translation issues he might have (as he was Polish).

The tribunal also had to decide if the employer acted reasonably in dismissing (instead of giving a warning) for this single incident. They found that the facts in this case meant that the employer's response did fall well within the range of reasonable responses, due to:

The importance to the employer's business of maintaining good relationships with its customers.

the employer's loss of confidence in the employee's future conduct (given that he'd continued to insist he'd done nothing wrong); and

the site ban, which resulted purely from the employee's own conduct and made it impossible for him to fulfil his contractual role.

What this means for you

Decisions like this are always very dependent on the circumstances – you should not take it as an automatic right to sack anyone who refuses to wear a face covering, or breaches other COVID-related safety measures.

In many cases, it is unlikely that a single act of misconduct of this nature would reasonably result in dismissal – the important reason why it did here was the fact that it led to the employment no longer being feasible.

However, this case also shows the importance of having clearly documented policies and procedures. The fact that the employer had an Employee handbook and a thorough disciplinary procedure (which it followed properly) were key to its success in defending the claim.

COVID-19: furlough changes; interim laws extended; more financial help

Furlough extended.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended to 30 September, and there are some changes to note:

From 1 July 2021, the government's contribution will drop to 70% (capped at £2,187.50). From 1 August 2021, it'll drop to 60% (capped at £1,875). You'll need to pay the rest to make up the 80% total, as well as the employer pension and National Insurance contributions in respect of that 80%.

For anyone added to your payroll (i.e. HMRC was notified of an RTI payment submission) between 31 October 2020 and 2 March 2021 (inclusive), you can't furlough them until 1 May. The government has not yet published guidance on how you should calculate wages for these staff, meaning it may be different from before.

Anyone added to your payroll from 3 March onwards cannot be furloughed at all, even if you are rehiring them.

Commercial property rent forfeiture ban extended.

Commercial landlords of properties in England and Wales now cannot claim forfeiture for non-payment of rent or enforce current court claims until 30 June 2021 (extended from 31 March).

Tax and NIC exemption for home-office expenses extended

Currently, if your employees buy any home-office equipment to enable home working and you reimburse them for it, they do not have to pay Income Tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions on those amounts. This temporary measure was due to end on 5 April but has been extended to the end of the 2021-22 tax year.

More government financial support

The deadline for applying for either a Bounce Back Loan or a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan is 31 March. However, from 6 April a new Recovery Loan Scheme will launch.

For businesses in England, new Restart Grants will launch in April. Non-essential retail businesses able to re-open in April 2021 will be eligible for up to £6,000 per premises. Businesses in the hospitality, leisure, personal care, and fitness industries forced to remain closed until a later date could get grants of up to £18,000.

Details of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme 4th grant have been published, with the online claim window open from late April until 31 May. If you are eligible, HMRC will contact you in mid-April. A 5th grant, covering May to September, will be available from late July.

New minimum pay rates from April

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates increase on 1 April for the 2021-22 tax year:

Aged over 25 (National Living Wage): £8.91 per hour

21-24: £8.36 per hour

18-20: £6.56 per hour

16-17: £4.62 per hour

Apprentices: £4.30 per hour

Other rates will also rise:

Accommodation set-off (the amount you can deduct from the minimum wage if you provide accommodation to the worker): £8.36 per day

Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental pay and maternity allowance: £151.97 per week

Statutory sick pay: £96.35 per week (from 6 April)

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Testimonials

I have just completed the advanced dental practice management skills S3 and I have learned so much from the course. It has given me the tools and knowledge to put what I have learned in daily practice. It's given me the confidence and empowerment to put my new found skills into action. The student portal is very east to navigate and the ongoing support from Glenys has been fantastic and never felt under any pressure as you are able to go at your own pace. To have a formal practice management qualification is a great feeling. Many thanks Glenys.

Claire Maloney, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills S3

I have learned so much form completing this course. I am able to put all aspects into daily practice and the improvements made have been very beneficial both to myself and my employer. I was very fortunate to be under the wing of Glenys who supported me through both my professional and personal life. The amount of encouragement I received has truly made a long lasting impression on me. I have developed as a person as well as a leader for my team. I cant recommend Glenys and the course highly enough and I think it should be a necessity for all CQC registered Managers to complete. This course has encouraged me to develop me knowledge and career much much further and I cant wait to see what results I get! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity.

Sammi Coidan, Level 5 Diploma for Dental CQC Registered Managers (RQF)

This course is very informative it gets you thinking of how to deal with complex situations. i am thoroughly enjoying this course and it has been challenging at times but Glenys has dealt with how I understand the concept of management

DL, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills S3

Fantastic well structured course. It made clinical governance and auditing process so much more simpler to carry out.

Nirav Thakker, Getting it Right- Clinical Governance and Audit

The first steps in Implant Dental Nursing course has given me all the basic knowledge I require to start Implant nursing.Emma has been an amazing tutor and has given me so many tips and advice. The course has really helped me with understand what I can and can’t do when I have donned and sterile. It has also taught me the terminology I need and how I can track the patients progress which I stered using in practice straight away. Brilliant course and would recommend it to anyone starting out with Implants

Hannah Berwick, First Steps in Implant Dental Nursing

I can not thank Becki enough for her amazing tutoring throughout this course. Her knowledge and experience gave me a real insight into the role of a Practice Management. Becki was always patient and went the extra mile to ensure I was getting the most out of the course - thank you Becki! The student portal was very easy to use and the course material provided was very informative. I would highly recommend Glenys Bridges and I look forward to my journey as a qualified Practice Manager.

Hana Iqbal, Level 4 Dental Practice Management

I started the introduction to team leading skills for dental nurses and carried on to the higher skills for lead dental nurses. The course has given me lots of new ideas to help with my team and given me a greater understanding of my role as a lead dental nurse. It taught me things that I never realised are part of my job role and I’m looking forward to getting more involved in different areas at my practice. Glenys was very flexible with tutorial times and worked around when I was free and set achievable goals that suited my work and home life. I would definitely recommend this course to lead dental nurses and I can’t wait to start my next course!

Hannah Berwick, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses- S2 Home

I found this course extremely helpful in explaining how I as a dental nurse can help to assist the dentists and the patient during a rubber dam procedure. I am interested in completing further training in placing rubber dam myself, especially with the current circumstances p.

Hannah Berwick , Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

It helped me understand why a rubber dam is used

Ss, Introduction to rubber dam for dental nurses-Individual CPD

I really enjoyed learning what it takes to become a care coordinator and the skills needed. Emma was such a great help in developing my knowledge beyond my potential. I am really grateful that that I had her as a tutor as she made me gain further understanding of how this role should be applied in practice. I am looking forward to put this new qualification to use and I hope to pick up more qualifications from this platform :)

Sarah Nsiah- Amoakoh, Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

I found this implant dental nursing ECPD course extremely useful. I am the lead dental nurse at my practice and we are in the process of our new implantologist starting. I knew nothing about implant nursing before this course but now I know terminology, the difference between a sterilised nurse and a non sterilised nurse, the correct way to set up the surgery and so much more. This has given me the basic knowledge I require to assist our implantologist.

Hannah Berwick, Introduction to Implant Dental Nursing- Individual CPD

My third course with Glenys and I would definitely recommend to anyone great help along the way and flexible tutorial times ! Can’t wait to start the next one!!

Lucy Willis, Lead Roles for Care Excellence 2020-Active In-house virtual CPD

My third course with Glenys and I would definitely recommend to anyone great help along the way and flexible tutorial times ! Can’t wait to start the next one!!

Lucy Willis, Lead Roles for Care Excellence 2020-Active In-house virtual CPD

I recently completed the Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses S-1. I have 20 years experience of working as a dental nurse and stepped into the role of a lead nurse a few years ago. Although I am a very experienced nurse I initially found stepping into this role a bit tough as I wasn't used to managing others and didn't like asking the other nurses to do things. I would actually do them by myself rather than ask. Throughout this course I learnt that it is important to allocate and delegate tasks to the other nurses.This gives me time to do other tasks I have to do and also makes the other nurses role more enjoyable as they are being given the opportunity to do something different. I had Edita as my tutor and she was fantastic. She was very upbeat and passionate when we had our tutorials each week. Her passion also made me feel motivated. This course and Editas support made me believe in myself. I would highly recommend and look forward to doing further training with Glenys Bridges in the future. The best part of this course for me was gaining my Certificate of Acheivement.

Lisa Clark, Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses -S 1

I have been a member of the Glenys Bridges team for over a two and a half years, and have been treated with respect and care ever since. Glenys is very professional, enlightening and insightful to individual student needs. My tutoring sessions with her are really amazing and transformative for me, and she helped me to progress from a Lead dental nurse to Practice Manager. I was going through a rough time and I wasn't sure I would make it, but she showed me that I am important and helped me get through the tough time. Thank you for the past few years, I’ve really enjoyed working with you, and I feel it has been a valuable experience. I have already recommended your services and will continue to do so!

Patrycja Galonzka , Level 5 Diploma for Dental CQC Registered Managers (RQF)

I have completed the Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses course with the amazing tutor Edita. Edita is such a warm and friendly person with unavailable knowledge and experience. She helped me to go through the whole course smoothly, without stress and always with good advice. During all tutorials, Edita was giving me support and she motivated me to believe in myself and my future. The skills and knowledge I gained during this course help me every day at work to be a good and confident Lead Nurse. I put into practice everything I have learned and I love to share my knowledge with my colleagues. I would higtly recommend all courses provided by Glenys Bridges and Partners to everyone

Justyna P, Higher Skills for Lead Dental Nurses- S2 Home

This course has been extremely enlightening, useful and enjoyable. The workshops for me were the highlight of the course as its great to interact with others and have all that lovely information explained to you. As I am about to help set up a new business the whole course has set me up to do this with knowledge , tools and confidence. Glenys is a great tutor and offered as much support as I felt I needed and never put me under pressure. I feel sad I have finished the course but hope to attend workshops run by Glenys in the future. Many thanks Sandra Kudla

Sandra Kudla, Advanced Dental Practice Management Skills S3

I am a mature student and without the encouragement and the belief I my ability I truly believe I would not have been able to complete the course. As a result of completing this course I feel that as a Dental Nurse I have both gained confidence in myself and my ability and have a wealth of new knowledge to use in my job. I can not thank you enough Edita x you are amazing x

Heidi, Advanced Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses -S 1

I've just completed my Course in High skills in Dental Care Coordination and I honestly couldn't recommend Glenys Bridges enough. Had continuous support from Edita my tutor throughout the Course to help me achieve it! The webiste is simple and easy to use to upload work. I have gained great knowledge on Care Coordination and I am very happy I did my course with Glenys Bridges! Highly Recommend

Zoe , Higher Skills in Dental Care Coordination

This course was a great course to complete alongside my working week. I was able to complete studies at my own pace and receive support from tutors whenever needed. The high point of this course was learning how to performance manage and support my staff effectively to ensure they develop fully in their career. This also means that the business get the best out of their staff. I have benefited hugely from this course as it has given me the confidence to manage my practice effectively and provided me with the knowledge to apply to my work. The tutor support with Gleny's Bridges is second to none. I was able to receive support and advice whenever needed. I would definitely recommend them as a course provider.

Amy Littler , Level 4 Dental Practice Management

I found the course really helped me as I'm newly lead nurse. I found Becki really helped me with different approaches to leading my team. I even spoke to Becki about helping me with preparation to selling our practice. Becki is a great teacher and really cares for the people she helps.

ET, Introduction to Team Leading Skills for Dental Nurses-

Dear Glenys and Edita, The course, Introduction to Team Leading was extremely informative and the approach/teaching was very professional. The one day worship help me recognise differences between being a Manager and Team Leader, and give me an opportunity to gain initial knowledge how to communicate and inspire Dental Nurse Team. I am very keen to enhance my skills and knowledge in this direction.

AB, Introduction to Team Leading for Dental Nurses- Workshop

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07973 361 390

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Glenys Bridges & Partners
Practice Pathways

24 Farnworth Grove
Castle Bromwich
Birmingham
B36 9JA
United Kingdom

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