- Hosepipe Bans
There are an increasing number of Water Authorities introducing bans on water use. The details of what water use activities are banned can differ from area to area so it is important to know what is and is not allowed in your specific area. The law on hosepipe bans is contained in the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. Section 36 of this Act allows Water Authorities to ban the use of hosepipes and introduce other restrictions on the use of water if there is, or it’s predicted that there will be, a serious shortage of water for distribution across a certain area. There is no definition or what constitutes “a serious shortage” so it is up the local Water Authority to make that determination – although they would have to justify their decision if there was a legal challenge.
It is important to note that Water Authorities do not have the power under this Act to impose bans on businesses. The power to do this rests with Government and, specifically, with the Environment Secretary who can ban the use of water for any non-domestic purpose as they see fit. So, at the moment, there are no bans on any form of water use for businesses. However, that said, business should, as closely as possible, try to mirror the rules on domestic water use in order to play their part in conserving water and not drawing criticism for, for example, watering their lawns when neighbours are banned from doing so.
- Supreme Court Decision On Calculating Holiday Pay
Some of you might have seem the recent Supreme Court Decision on the case of Haspur v Brazel which related to the calculation of holiday pay. Basically, this case what to determine the correct methodology for calculating holiday pay for staff and has a significant bearing on the amount of holiday pay owed to people how work on and off for short periods or who are on zero-hour contracts where they may not work some weeks.
Essentially, the court has determined that where a member of staff has not worked during a particular week, that week does not form part of the 52 week reference period that is used to calculate their holiday pay (it’s worth noting that the reference period for calculating holiday pay increased from 12 weeks to 52 weeks in April 2020 – something that businesses might have missed with the start of the Covid pandemic). So, for example,
- If a person has been working for over 52 weeks but in 10 of those weeks they did no hours, rather than calculating average weekly pay by dividing the total earnings over the last year and dividing by 52, the employer would exclude the 10 weeks that they had no earnings and replace them with the 10 weeks they had earnings immediately prior to the start of the 52 week reference period.
- If a person has received earnings for less than 52 weeks in total over the last 2 years, then their holiday pay is calculated based on their total earnings over the past 2 year period divided by the number of weeks they received pay
What this does is, in effect, treat casual staff as parttime permanent staff and increase the amount of holiday pay that businesses have to provide staff. This could be a significant additional cost to businesses that have large numbers of casual or seasonal workers.
Here is a link to Government guidance which gives provides more information to businesses on how they should be calculating holiday pay.
And here’s a link to the judgement for those interested in the case