Equality and Diversity Policy
These Chambers are committed to the principle of equal opportunities, and oppose any form of less favourable treatment or financial reward through direct or indirect discrimination.
All barristers have committed to observe the Bar Standards Board Code of Conduct in relation to non discrimination in the acceptance of work, the carrying out of that work and all dealings with clients, colleagues staff and others.
All staff have committed to comply with this policy.
This policy will apply to every aspect of life within chambers including Chambers as an employer of staff, provider of services to the public, selection of pupils, recruitment of new tenants, relationships between members and the engagement and treatment of third parties communicating with and visiting chambers.
Chambers barristers and staff will not discriminate, or victimise directly or indirectly, in relation to any other person, because of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religion or political persuasion. This includes any client or another barrister or a pupil or a student member of an Inn of Court, and is directly applicable in:
* the recruitment of staff and the selection of pupils and tenants;
* the terms, opportunities for training or gaining experience, benefits and services for prospective or current members of staff, pupils and tenants;
* the termination of service of staff or the termination of pupillage or tenancy, including pressure to leave;
* subjecting staff, pupils or tenants to detrimental treatment.
Chambers will not discriminate against lay or professional clients in the provision of services on grounds of sex or race or for reasons relating to disability.
Discrimination on racial grounds encompasses nationality, race, colour and ethnic origins.
Sex discrimination encompasses not only gender but also marital status, pregnancy and gender reassignment.
Chambers will not discriminate on the grounds of age.
Chambers recognises its obligations under the Bar Code of Conduct and the Codes of practice published by the Bar Council, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality.
Chambers will take all reasonable steps to ensure that proper arrangements are made in Chambers for dealing with equal opportunity issues, by undertaking the following:
* There is in force a written statement of policy on equality and diversity; and
* There is in force a written plan implementing that policy;
* The following requirements are complied with;
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY OFFICER
* Chambers shall appoint two Equality and Diversity officers at Chambers Annual General Meeting.
* Except in unforeseen and exceptional circumstances, every member of All selection panels must be trained in fair recruitment and selection processes.
FAIR AND OBJECTIVE CRITERIA
* Recruitment and selection processes use objective and fair criteria.
* Chambers conducts a regular review of its policy on equality and diversity and of its implementation in order to ensure that it complies with the requirements of Rule C110 Code of Conduct; and
* Takes any appropriate remedial action identified in the light of that review;
Subject to rule C110 .3.h Chambers regularly reviews;
* The number and percentages of its workforce from different groups; and
* Applications to become members of its workforce; and
* In the case of Chambers, the allocation of unassigned work.
The rules referred to in Rule C110.3.f Code of Conduct include:
* Collecting and analyzing data broken down by race, disability and gender;
* Investigating the reasons for any disparities in that data; and
* Taking appropriate remedial action.
* To the fair distribution of work opportunities among pupils and members of Chambers.
* The requirement to collect the information referred to in Rule C110.3.g does not apply to the extent that the people referred to in Rule C110.3.f.i and Rule C110.3.f.ii refuse to disclose it.
FAIR ACCESS TO WORK
* The affairs of Chambers are conducted in a manner which is fair and equitable to all members of Chambers/Pupils/Employees. This includes, but is not limited to, the fair distribution of work amongst pupils and members of Chambers;
* Chambers has a written anti harassment policy which states that harassment will not be tolerated or condoned and that employees, members of chambers, pupils and others temporarily in Chambers, such as mini pupils, have a right to complain if it occurs;
* Sets out how the policy will be communicated
* Sets out the procedures for dealing with complaints of harassment.
* Chambers has a parental leave policy which sets out;
* The right of a member of chambers to return to chambers after a specified period (which must be at least one year) of parental or adoption leave;
* the extent to which a member of chambers is or is not required to contribute to chambers’rent and expenses during parental leave;
* the method of calculation of any waiver, reduction or reimbursement of chambers’ rent and expenses during parental leave; where any element of rent is paid on a flat rate basis, the chambers policy must as a minimum provide that chambers will offer members taking a period of parental leave, or leave following adoption, a minimum of 6 months free of chambers’ rent;
* the procedure for dealing with grievances under the policy;
* chambers’ commitment to regularly review the effectiveness of the policy;
Please see appendix A
* Chambers has a flexible working policy which allows a member of chambers, manager or employee (as the case may be) to take a career break, to work part-time, to work flexible hours, or to work from home, so as to enable him or her to manage their family responsibilities or disability without giving up work;
REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS POLICY
* Chambers has a reasonable adjustments policy aimed at supporting disabled clients, its workforce and others including temporary visitors;
APPOINTMENT OF DIVERSITY DATA OFFICER
* Chambers has a Diversity Data Officer;
* Chambers must provide the name and contact details of the Diversity Data Officer to the Bar Standards Board and must notify the Bar Standards Board of any change to the identity of the Diversity Data Officer, as soon as reasonably practicable;
RESPONSIBILITIES OF DIVERSITY DATA OFFICER
* The Diversity Data Officer shall comply with the requirements in relation to the collection, processing and publication of diversity data set out in the paragraphs rC110.3.q to .t;
* Collection and publication of diversity data
* The Diversity Data Officer shall invite members of the workforce to provide diversity data in respect of themselves to the Diversity Data Officer using the model questionnaire in Section 7 of the BSB’s Supporting Information on the BSB Handbook Equality Rules (https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/media/1549918/bsb_equality_rules_supporting_information_2014.pdf);
* The Diversity Data Officer shall ensure that such data is anonymised and that an accurate and updated summary of it is published on chambers’ or BSB authorised body’s website every three years.
* Exclude diversity data relating to the characteristics of sexual orientation and religion or belief, unless there is consent from each of the members of the workforce; and exclude diversity data in relation to any characteristic where there is a real risk that individuals could be identified, unless all affected individuals consent; and
* Subject to the foregoing, include anonymised data in relation to each characteristic, categorised by reference to the job title and seniority of the workforce.
The Diversity Data Officer shall:
* Ensure that chambers has in place a written policy statement on the collection, publication, retention and destruction of diversity data which shall include an explanation that the provision of diversity data is voluntary;
* Notify the workforce of the contents of the written policy statement; and ask for explicit consent from the workforce to the provision and processing of their diversity data in accordance with the written policy statement and these rules, in advance of collecting their diversity data.
RECRUITMENT: PUPILS AND TENANTS
* All vacancies for tenants and pupils shall be advertised.
* Tenancy vacancies will usually be advertised through Chambers website and Counsel magazine or other such publications, through social media sites as well as through the notice boards in each of the Inns of court.
* Applications for tenancy shall be made by initially by covering letter and a CV, addressed to the Secretary to the Tenancy and Pupillage Committee either on-line or by post.
* Pupillage vacancies will be advertised through the on-line service, www.pupillages.com and through Chambers website.
* Applications should be made on-line to the Tenancy and Pupillage Committee.
* Chambers will operate a selection procedure which shall be objective and non-discriminatory.
* Short listing for interview shall be decided by two or more members of the committee, and shall include consultation with the Head of Chambers where considered appropriate.
* Members of the Tenancy and Pupillage committee shall be elected annually by members vote at a general chambers meeting.
* Decisions on selection are taken by the Tenancy and Pupillage committee, and selection will require a majority vote from the members of that committee
* Interviews will be conducted by at least four members of the committee.
* All members who cannot attend, will be supplied with a copy application, and may be consulted at any stage during the process.
* Chambers will ensure that any reasonable adjustment required for a disabled candidate has been made so that disabled candidates are not disadvantaged at interview.
* A record will be kept of all interviews, and can be referred to in the event that an explanation for a decision is requested.
* One Equality and Diversity office will attend each interview as an observer to ensure fair and equal treatment of each candidate.
* Chambers has a pupillage policy, and a pupillage code.
* This will be given to all successful candidates, and is available to applicants on request.
* Chambers will consider applications from third six pupils at any time.
* Chambers offers opportunities for internship and work experience throughout the year. Applications are made to the Senior Clerk by CV or through a recognized work experience placement office.
* Decisions on internship will be made by the Head of Chambers or a senior member of the Management Committee and the Senior Clerk.
* All applicants for any role will be asked to complete a diversity data monitoring form.
* Decisions on work experience will generally be based on assessment by either the school or college from which the application has been submitted, and on availability of places.
* Applications from starter tenants should be made to the tenancy committee, but interviews should be conducted by members other than those who have acted as pupil supervisors to the candidate.
* Applications from established practitioners, other than in response to advertised vacancies, will be referred to the tenancy committee in the same way as those made in response to standard advertising.
* Applications for mini-pupillage will be dealt with administratively, based on CV and availability. Such applications will be considered by the Senior Clerk and at least one member of the pupillage committee.
FAIR ACCESS TO WORK
Allocation of work in Chambers
1. Chambers will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the affairs of Chambers are conducted in a manner which is fair and equitable for all barristers.
There will be fair distribution of work amongst pupils and members of Chambers.
Pupils and tenants are entitled to equality of opportunity in terms of being able to experience the full range of work and training undertaken by Chambers.
2. Pupils and junior tenants shall be afforded the opportunity to develop their practices in a fair and equal manner.
3. The Management Committee shall be responsible for responding to any complaints and concerns about work allocation.
4. If any tenant or pupil wishes to discuss work allocation, they may ask for a meeting with the management committee to express any concern they may have.
5. The Management Committee undertakes to deal with any such complaint in a prompt and expeditious manner, by discussion with the member/pupil concerned and with the Senior Clerk, and where necessary by formal notification to the Head of Chambers.
6. All work allocation will be recorded on Chambers software, and regular reviews will be conducted, at both Management Committee meetings, and Chambers meetings, of work received, fees received, and solicitors instructing.
7. The Management Committee will review all work trends during the monthly meeting.
8. Allocation of work should be recorded on each occasion on the Meridian software.
9. Any unequal or unfair treatment of pupils or members of chambers will be treated as a serious matter and will be dealt with accordingly, by the Management Committee and the Head of Chambers.
10. Any solicitor who insists on a directly discriminatory allocation of work will be reported to his or her professional body and the work will be refused.
11. Chambers will ensure that marketing and networking activities are organized so that all pupils and tenants can, so far as practicable, be equally involved.
C. PARENTAL LEAVE
Chambers has a written policy on parental leave.
The policies include:
a. The members right to return to Chambers after a specified period of leave;
b. The extent of the periods of leave offered free of Chambers’ rent and expenses;
the manner in which rent/expenses is to be waived;
c. The members entitlement to work part time or take a career break for childcare or other reasons;
d. The procedure for dealing with grievances under the policy;
e. Chambers commitment to regularly review the effectiveness of the policy.
A copy policy is attached at Appendix A.
D FLEXIBLE AND PART- TIME WORKING AND CAREER BREAKS
Chambers has a written policy setting out Chambers procedure for permitting members (male or female) to take career breaks, work flexible hours, part time or partly from home to enable them to manage their family responsibilities and remain in practice.
A copy of Chambers policy is attached at Appendix B.
Chambers has a harassment policy. This sets out a clear summary of the type of behaviour which is unacceptable in the working environment, and the procedures for dealing with complaints about such behaviour.
Examples of behaviour which may amount to harassment or victimization when based on a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation or disability are:
1. Suggesting that sexual favours may in some way further a persons career or that refusing sexual favours may damage it
2. Compromising suggestions or invitations
3. Display of pornographic or offensive material including on computer screens
4. Offensive remarks or ridicule
5. Jokes or abuse
6. Exclusion from social networks and activities.
Harassment can include unacceptable verbal conduct, for example insulting or abusive comments, innuendo, lewd remarks and unwelcome propositions.
Harassment on any of the grounds mentioned above is a particular form of discrimination which will not be tolerated
This policy is available to all members, staff , squatters and pupils.
Chambers has a policy on harrassment please see Appendix C
F COMPLAINTS AND GRIEVANCES
Chambers has a written grievance procedure.
Chambers has a policy for Grievance procedures please see Appendix D
G. SERVICE PROVISION
Service Provision to disabled clients.
Chambers will not discriminate against a disabled person:
a.by refusing to provide (or deliberately not providing) any service which it provides (or is prepared to provide) to members of the public; or
b.in the standard of service which it provides to the disabled person or the manner in which it provides that service; or
c.in the terms on which it provides a service to the disabled person.
Chambers will not discriminate against a disabled person by treating the disabled person less favourably for a reason related to the persons disability.
Chambers will not discriminate against a disabled person by failing to comply with a duty to make a reasonable adjustment causing the disabled person to find it either impossible or unreasonably difficult to use the service providers services.
Chambers will not victimize any person (whether disabled or not) by treating them less favourably because they brought proceedings, gave evidence or information or made allegations relating to the DDA.
H. STAFF IN CHAMBERS
Chambers will follow the guidelines in Practice Management for the Bar and Chambers Practice Manual
Recruitment of Chambers staff will be by way of open advertisement, clear and objective selection procedure and interviews by the Management Committee, as laid down constitutionally and in Chambers Practice Manual and Personnel File.
Chambers has a policy for disciplinary procedures. Please see Appendix D
Complaints and Grievances by staff.
Chambers has a policy for staff grievances. Please see Appendix D
Parental leave for staff
Chambers has a policy for staff leave. Please see Appendix E
Reasonable adjustment policy
Chambers has a reasonable adjustments policy aimed at supporting disabled clients, its workforce and others including temporary visitors.
Please see Appendix F
Chambers has a policy for the role of the Equality and Diversity data officers. Please see Appendix Y
PARENTAL LEAVE FOR MEMBERS OF CHAMBERS
Period of Leave Free of Rent and Chambers Expenses
Chambers offers members taking parental leave, or leave following adoption, a minimum period of six months’ free of Chambers rent and expenses.
This does not apply to the payment of commission which still falls due to be paid on receipt of fees paid to members on leave.
Chambers offers members a minimum of one months leave, free of chambers rent and expenses following the birth or adoption of a child by their partner, where they have or share responsibility for that child and so that they can discharge that responsibility.
Applications for extended periods of leave, other than the minimum offered, should be made in writing to the Management Committee. Chambers will accommodate such requests wherever possible.
Right to Return to Chambers.
Members have the right to return to Chambers as a tenant, following the birth or adoption of a child.
The right to return shall be guaranteed for a period of at least one year.
Should a member wish to take extended leave, for a period of longer than one year, written application should be made to the Management Committee.
Chambers will accommodate such requests wherever possible.
Assistance to Return to Chambers and to Work During Parental Leave or a Career Break
During any period of parental leave, or where a member takes a career break, Chambers will provide those members with all practice developments during their period of leave.
Invitations to training events, social occasions, and seminars will all be sent to members, by post or e-mail and regular contact will be maintained between members and clerks.
Members on leave will be informed of any important Chambers decisions which may affect the members practice, and they will be invited to attend all Chambers meetings.
FLEXIBLE AND PART-TIME WORKING AND CAREER BREAKS
Should a member wish to take a career break, work flexible hours, part-time or partly from home, to enable them to manage their family responsibilities and remain in practice, Chambers will make every effort to assist a member in doing so.
Applications for either any rent and expenses free period, or a reduction in the level of rent and expenses to be paid, should be made in writing to the Management Committee.
Rental arrangements should be agreed and in place before any period of flexible working commences.
During any period of leave, Chambers will inform members of any important Chambers decisions which may affect the members practice, as well as the dates of all chambers meetings, seminars, social and training events.
Harrassement Statement of Policy
Chambers is committed to providing a working environment in which all individuals including members, pupils, mini-pupils, employees, clients and the public are treated with dignity and respect. Chambers aims to promote a working environment, which is conducive to the professional growth of its members and employees and to the promotion of equality of opportunity.
Chambers will not tolerate any form of harassment and will take all necessary steps to ensure that its members and employees are not subject to harassment. Harassment constitutes professional misconduct and is prohibited by the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct. Harassment on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation or religion is unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003.
The Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all members and employees of Chambers, to pupils and to mini-pupils. The policy applies to:
* all premises where chambers’ business is conducted;
* all chambers’ related activities performed at any other site away from the chambers;* any social, business or other function where conduct or comments may have an effect on chambers or relationships within Chambers.
Definition of Harassment
Harassment is any form of unwanted conduct, which has the aim, or effect of diminishing a person’s dignity or creating a humiliating or offensive environment for that person. The essence of all harassment is that it is unwelcome conduct, which is offensive to the recipient. The test is a subjective one and the fact that one person may be able to ignore or deal comfortably with certain behaviour does not mean that it is acceptable if directed at another.
Chambers prohibits any behaviour which causes offence or distress to another and which is perceived by that person as relating to or arising from his/her race, religion political belief, sex, sexual orientation or disability and which constitutes less favourable treatment on such grounds. Harassment may take a variety of forms and includes behaviour.
* which is unwanted by the recipient and perceived as threatening;
* which causes a hostile or threatening working environment;
* where rejection or submission is used as a basis for decisions concerning the recipient e.g. decision relating to award of pupillage, appointment of tenancy, promotion or other opportunities for career advancement.
The following are example of behaviour, which may amount to harassment:
* physical assault, including sexual assault;
* demands for sexual favours in return for career advancement;
* unnecessary physical contact;
* exclusion from social networks and activities;
* compromising suggestions or invitations;
* suggestive remarks or looks;
* display of offensive materials, including on computer screen;
* tasteless jokes or verbal abuse;
* offensive remarks or ridicule;
* dealing inappropriately with complaints of harassment.
Disciplinary action will be taken against any member or employee of chambers found to have harassed a colleague or other person in the conduct of their work.
Communication of the Policy on Harassment
A copy of this policy will be provided to all members, employees, pupils and mini-pupils of the Chambers. If necessary, a briefing will be provided so that all members and employees are aware of behaviour, which is unacceptable within the working environment, and are aware of the harassment policy, procedures for making complaints against and assistance available.
Resolving Complaints of Harassment
Chambers is committed to providing a supportive environment in which to resolve problems of harassment, and has put in place a number of options of resolving problems. A non-adversarial approach will be adopted.
Informal Resolution Options
1. When an incident of harassment occurs, the recipient should communicate their disapproval and objections immediately to the harasser, if they feel able to do so, and request the harasser to stop.
2. If the harasser does not stop or if the recipient is uncomfortable about addressing the harasser directly, he or she should bring their concerns to the attention of the Chambers Equal Opportunities Officer or to the designated adviser for informal complaints. Chambers will provide advice or support as requested and will undertake any investigation necessary to resolve the matter, speedily and in confidence. Within one week of the receipt of the informal complaint an investigation will be made, if necessary.
Formal Complaints Resolution
1. Where the person subject to harassment does not wish to pursue the informal resolution options or has exhausted such options, they may make a formal complaint to the head of Chambers or to the management Committee. All such complaints will be promptly investigated.
2. A formal complaint should be made in writing. Within one week of the receipt of the complaint an investigation of the allegation will be made and completed within 14 days, unless there are good reasons for delay.
3. Investigations will be conducted in accordance with standards of natural justice. Where possible, two members of chambers not directly involved in the complaint should undertake the investigation. The complainant should be permitted to be accompanied by a colleague or friend at any hearing.
4. If the allegation of harassment is upheld, appropriate remedial actions will be taken.
This may include any of the following;
* formal apology;
* written warning
* change of work assignment
* report to the relevant Inn recommending the removal of pupil supervisor status;
* suspension or discharge of member or employee
* referral to Professional Conduct Committee (PCC)
In addition, to the sanction that may be imposed on a member of an employee by chambers as part of a complaint resolution, members of chambers who engage in harassment may be liable for damages in the event of a civil lawsuit or may face further sanctions imposed by the Bar Council’s Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee, or, in a very serious case, criminal sanctions.
Raising A Complaint
A person experiencing harassment is encouraged to raise a complaint at an early stage, preferably through the informal procedure. Raising a complaint at an early stage is more likely to result in a satisfactory resolution. If left unresolved, the harassment may escalate to the point where the situation becomes much more difficult to deal with effectively.
Any member, employee, pupil or mini-pupil in chambers has the right to bring to the attention of an appropriate person any behaviour, which they consider to be contrary to the harassment policy, irrespective of whether they are the recipients of the harassment. A member or employee of chambers who witnesses behaviour, which they consider contravenes the harassment policy, should take immediate action to indicate that such behaviour is unacceptable as failure to do so could be interpreted as condoning such behaviour.
Standard of Proof
It should be noted that the standard of proof applied may differ according to the complaints process involved. The PCCC apply the criminal standard, beyond reasonable doubt, to complaints alleging professional misconduct by a barrister. In employment tribunals or county courts the civil standard, balance of probabilities, applies.
Chambers recognise that a recipient of harassment may find it difficult to come forward with a complaint and they understand that recipients and alleged harassers may be particularly concerned about confidentiality and the effect that a complaint may have on career advancement. To protect the interests of the complainant, the person complained against, and any others who may report or be witnesses to incidents of harassment, confidentiality will be maintained throughout any investigatory process to the extent that this is practical and appropriate under the circumstances. However, chambers has a duty to ensure that harassment does not re-occur. All records of complaints, including notes to meetings, interviews, results of investigations and other relevant material will be kept confidential by chambers except where disclosure is required for disciplinary or other remedial processes.
Chambers is committed to ensuring that no one who brings forward a harassment concern in good faith is subject to any form of reprisal. Any victimisation of a complainant, witness or anyone else involved in the investigation of a complaint will be viewed as a disciplinary matter. The raising of such a complaint will not have any adverse consequences for the complainant, particularly in relation to tenancy and promotion decisions.
Pupillage is a period of professional training and chambers regard it as inappropriate for a sexual relationship to develop between a pupil supervisor, any other member or employee of chambers and a pupil. No member of chambers may participate in decisions concerning a pupil where they are or have been in a relationship with that pupil.
Further Avenues of Redress for an Individual Experiencing Harassment
In addition to the chambers’ procedures there are a number of other avenues of redress. These include:
* If a complaint is not resolved within Chambers a further avenue of appeal to an external independent individual may be considered. The individual should have experience in equal opportunities
* raise a complaint with the relevant Inns Students’ Officer about a sponsor or pupil supervisor. The Inns’ complaints process will determine the outcome of such complaints;
* complain to the Bar Council’s Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee where the alleged harasser is a barrister;
* take action in the county court or employment tribunal alleging harassment as a form of unlawful direct discrimination;
* report this matter to the police where an act of harassment is a criminal offence e.g. assault or intentional harassment.
* through the Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Advisers seek the assistance of the Bar Council’s Mediation Panel members. Their role is to advise the complainant and, with his or her permission, seek to mediate between the complainant and the alleged harasser. The Panel can be approached in confidence and will aim to achieve an end to the conduct complained of without necessarily finding fault or blame and without the imposition of sanctions.
The Bar Council’s Equality and Diversity Advisers are available at the Bar Council to offer advice in confidence to any recipient of harassment or to any member of chambers responding to a complaint of harassment. The confidential helpline number (a direct dial number ) is 0207 611 1310
General procedure when complaint made by /member/staff/pupils against Member of Chambers or Senior Clerk
Chambers undertakes to deal with complaints and grievances promptly, objectively and fairly
Members, who have paid their voluntary subscriptions, and Chambers clerks, may approach the Bar Council Arbitration and Conciliation Service to resolve any disputes between members themselves, or between members and their clerks.
Any individual (member of Chambers, pupil, employee or client) may complain about the conduct of an individual barrister, through the Bar Standards Board, to the Professional Conduct and Complaints Committee of the BSB, the Legal Ombudsman or to the Inn about a pupil supervisor.
Where an individual has a statutory complaint of unlawful discrimination, the complaint may be pursued through the Employment Tribunals or County Court as appropriate.
When a complaint is made, confidentiality will be maintained throughout any investigatory process as far as possible and as appropriate in the circumstances.
Names of complainants will not be released, save to those conducting the investigation and to the person complained against, without their consent.
Members may at any time raise grievances informally with either another member of Chambers, members of the Management Committee, the Head of Chambers or the Senior Clerk.
Such informal discussions will remain confidential, if requested by the complainant, wherever circumstances permit.
No complainant will be victimised or suffer detriment because of any complaint made in good faith.
Formal Grievance Procedure.
Any formal complaint of discrimination or harassment should be made, in writing, to the Head of Chambers and the Management Committee
Parental leave for staff
1. Maternity Rights
Every female employee expecting a child is entitled to the following:
1. reasonable time off from Chambers, with pay, for ante-natal care
2. ordinary statutory maternity leave
3. leave from work, on full pay, if there is an unavoidable health or safety risk to her and suitable alternative employment cannot be found
4. all of her normal terms and conditions, with the exception of salary and commission, whilst she is on ordinary maternity leave
5. additional maternity leave on application to the Management committee
6. the right to return to her previous employment for up to one year after the commencement of her maternity leave, (or an equivalent job if there are genuine reasons why her previous job in Chambers is not available)
7. protection from dismissal or detriment in connection with pregnancy. It is unlawful to dismiss a pregnant employee (or single her out for redundancy) for reasons connected with pregnancy or maternity.
2. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is paid for up to 39 weeks. Entitlement is as follows:
* 90% of an employees average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks
* £138.18 or 90% of an employees average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks
SMP is paid in the same way as wages (eg monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.
Statutory Maternity Leave
Employees qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave if:
* They are an employee not a worker
* The employer is given the correct notice
* It doesn’t matter how long an employee has been with an employer, how many hours were worked or how much was paid.
Statutory Maternity Leave is not paid if you have a child through surrogacy although it may be possible to allow unpaid parental leave.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
To qualify for SMP an employee must:
* earn on average at least £111 a week
* give the correct notice
* give proof of pregnancy
* have worked for an employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the ‘qualifying week’ - the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth
An employee cannot get SMP if they go into police custody during any maternity pay period. It won’t restart when discharged.
Early births or the loss of the baby
Employees can still get Statutory Maternity Leave and SMP if a baby:
* is born early
* is stillborn after the start of the 24th week of pregnancy
* dies after being born
SMP usually starts when the employee begins maternity leave.
It starts automatically if an employee is off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the week (Sunday to Saturday) that the baby is due.
Women who are not eligible for SMP may be entitled to Maternity Allowance
3. Maternity Allowance
A woman who does not meet the qualifying conditions for SMP may be entitled to claim Maternity Allowance from the Benefits Agency. Her employer should provide her with form SMP1 which sets out the reasons why she is not eligible for SMP.
This section sets out the entitlements to the types of leave highlighted in this sub section and reflects the legislative changes which came into effect on 4th April 2010.
Every pregnant employee who has notified her employer of her pregnancy is entitled to:
a. ordinary maternity leave – 26 weeks ordinairy maternity leave (OML) , commencing not more than 11 weeks before the baby is due;
b. additional maternity leave (AML) – women who have completed 26 weeks continuous service with their employer by the qualifying week can take additional maternity leave, which will start immediately after ordinary maternity leave and continue for a further 26 weeks. An employee could be absent from work for up to 12 months (26 weeks ordinary maternity leave plus 26 weeks additional maternity leave);
c. while on ordinary maternity leave, employees are entitled to benefit from all their normal terms and conditions, except for terms relating to salary (unless their contract stipulates otherwise);
d. compulsory maternity leave – regardless of whether an employee wishes to take maternity leave she may not work for two weeks from the date of the birth;
e. if the employee gives birth before the date she has notified for the start of her maternity leave, or before she has notified a date, her maternity leave period starts automatically on the day after the date of the birth.
Chambers is required to respond to a woman’s notification of her leave plans within 28 days. Chambers must write to the employee, setting out the date on which the employer expects her to return to work if she takes her full entitlement to maternity leave (26 weeks or 52 weeks). This means that a woman who intends to return to work at the end of her maternity leave will not be required to give any further notification to Chambers.
An employee who wishes to return to chambers before the end of her maternity leave must give 28 days notice of the date she wants to return to work.
Proof of pregnancy
An employee needs to give their employer proof of the pregnancy to get SMP. It is not needed for maternity leave.
Within 21 days of the SMP start date (or as soon as possible if the baby’s born early)the employee must give the employer either:
* a letter from the doctor or midwife
* an MATB1 certificate - doctors and midwives usually issue these 20 weeks before the due date
Fathers, (whether the biological father or the mothers husband or partner including same sex partner) who have at least 26 weeks continuous service prior to the 15th week before the baby is due have the right to take 1 or 2 weeks consecutive paid paternity leave (not
odd days). The right to paid paternity leave also applies to the partner of an individual who adopts, or to the other member of a couple who are adopting jointly.
Employees are required to tell Chambers of their intention to take paternity leave by the 15th week before the baby is expected. They will need to tell Chambers;
a. the week the baby is due
b. whether they wish to take one or two weeks leave
c. when they want their leave to start.
Employees can change their mind about the date on which they want their leave to start providing they tell Chambers at least 28 days in advance. Leave can start on any day of the week on or following the childs birth but must be completed within 56 days of the actual birth of the child.
Employees are entitled to return to the same job (on the same terms and conditions) following paternity leave and are protected from suffering unfair treatment or dismissal for taking or seeking to take paternity leave. Employees who believe they have been treated unfairly can complain to an employment tribunal, regardless of their length of service.
Employment rights when on leave
Your employment rights are protected while on paternity leave. This includes the right to:
* pay rises
* build up (accrue) holiday
* return to work
Employees can get time off to accompany their partner to 2 antenatal appointments
Paid Leave for Adoptive Parents
Employees with at least 26 weeks continuous service have the right to take adoption leave.
This is available to individuals who adopt, or to one partner of a couple who adopt jointly. Adopters are entitled to up to 26 weeks ordinary adoption leave followed immediately by up to 26 weeks additional adoption leave.
Employees have the right to return to the same job (on the same terms and conditions) when returning from adoption leave (or an equivalent job if there are genuine reasons why the old job is not available).
If Chambers, at the relevant time, has 5 or fewer employees, they are not obliged to take back an employee after additional adoption leave. Employees are protected from suffering unfair treatment or dismissal for taking, or seeking to take, adoption leave. Employees who believe they have been treated unfairly can complain to an employment tribunal, regardless of their length of service.
While on ordinary adoption leave, employees are entitled to benefit from all their normal terms and conditions of employment, except for terms relating to salary or commission (unless their contract of employment stipulates otherwise)
Additionally, the right to paternity leave and pay for the other member of the couple, or the adopter’s partner also applies.
An employee who has completed one year’s continuous service is entitled to 13 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child born or adopted (so for twins parental leave is up to 26 weeks, similarly if more than one child is adopted at the same time, parental leave can be taken for each child)
Applications for parental leave should be made to the management Committee prior to commencement, and agreement reached on how parental leave is to be taken e.g. how many weeks at a time and how many weeks per year.
Parental Leave can be taken any time up to the child’s 5th birthday (for adopted children within the first 5 years from the first date of placement, or the child’s 18th birthday, whichever is the sooner.
In the case of a child with a disability, parental leave is 18 weeks and may be taken any time before the child’s 18th birthday.
Employees are guaranteed the right to return to the same job following parental leave. If a request would unduly disrupt Chambers business, Chambers can postpone the taking of leave for up to six months.
Employees with children under 6 years old (under 18 in the case of a disabled child) have the right to request flexible working.
Any request for flexible working hours must be made, in writing to the Management Committee, and the following criteria must be satisfied: he or she must
a. be an employee with at least 26 weeks continuous service at the date the application is made;
b. have a child under 6 years, or under 18 years in the case of a disabled child
c. make the application no later than 2 weeks before the childs 6th birthday or 18th birthday in the case of a disabled child
d. have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing
e. be making the application to enable them to care for the child
f. not be an agency worker
g. not have made another application to work flexibly within the past 12 months
h. state, in the written request, that the employee has the responsibility for bringing up the child and what effect the employee thinks the proposed change would have on Chambers and how the employee thinks the proposed change might be dealt with.
Flexible working includes requests to work different, or flexible hours, to work part time, or to work from home, either all or some of the time.
Within 28 days of receipt of the application, the Management Committee must meet the employee to discuss the application. The employee has the right to be accompanied at the meeting by a colleague (who must also be a Chambers employee). Within 14 days of the meeting, the Management Committee must write to the employee to either agree to a new work pattern and a start date: or to provide clear business grounds as to why the application cannot be accepted. Clear business grounds include the following:
a. it would have a detrimental effect on the ability to meet client demand
b. it is not possible to re-organise work among existing staff or to recruit additional staff
c. it would have a detrimental effect on quality or performance
d. there would be insufficient work during the hours the employee requests to work
e. there would be a burden to Chambers of additional costs.
The employee has the right to appeal (within 14 days) against the decision.
If the application is accepted it will be a permanent change to the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.
If the application is not accepted, the employee has the right to go to an employment tribunal, and it will be a matter for Chambers to demonstrate that the original request was handled fairly and thoroughly, and that the reasons for refusal were genuine.
REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS POLICY
1.1 9 King’s Bench Walk is committed to ensuring that disabled people are not disadvantaged in accessing its services. To this end 9 KBW will make reasonable adjustments for disabled people and this document sets out our policy, but does not seek to explain how we will approach every situation.
1.2 The Equality Act 2010 requires Chambers to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled people in the provision of its services, in order that disabled people are treated fairly. The need to make a reasonable adjustment arises when a disabled person is put at substantial disadvantage to a person who is not disabled.
1.3 This policy applies to all those using Chambers services, including staff, pupils, mini pupils and barristers. There is a separate policy that covers reasonable adjustments in the workplace
2.1 This policy is circulated to all members of Chambers its committees and staff who are required to read and understand it.
3. Definition of disability
3.1 For the purposes of this policy the definition of disability follows that set out in the Equality Act 2010 s.6. A person is therefore disabled if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. “Substantial” means more than minor or trivial and “long term” means 12 months or more”.
4.1 A reasonable adjustment is any practicable adjustment made to any of 9 KBW’s physical features, provision, criterion or practice which removes or reduces substantial disadvantage in accessing that service to a disabled person.
4.2 The legal duty to make reasonable adjustments arises in three circumstances:
a) where there is a provision, criterion or practice which puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled
b) where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled
c) where a disabled person would, but for the provision of an auxilliary aid, be put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled.
4.3 9 KBW will discuss the specific requirements of the person making the request for reasonable adjustments with the individual concerned in order to agree a suitable adjustment in all the circumstances. Chambers will not make assumptions about whether a person requires reasonable adjustments and what those adjustments might be.
5. Types of reasonable adjustment
5.1 This policy does not provide an exhaustive list of the reasonable adjustments that Chambers will make for those accessing our services however the following types of adjustment that may be made are listed below:
- Provision of auxiliary aids
- Provision of information in appropriate alternative formats (e.g. large print, Braille, coloured paper etc)
- Extension of time limits (where it is lawful to do so)
- Provision of information/documents on coloured paper
- Use of email or telephone in preference to hard copy letters
6. Consideration of Reasonable Adjustments requests
6.1 All requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis and where advice is needed it will be sought from Chambers Equality and Diversity officers.
6.2 Requests for reasonable adjustments will be acknowledged within two weeks of Chambers receiving the request. The response will set out a decision as regards the request or will set out any further information Chambers requires in order to reach a decision.
6.3 In the majority of cases Chambers will be able to agree requests for reasonable adjustments.
Chambers consideration of whether an adjustment is ‘reasonable’ or not depends on a number of factors including
- Use of plain English
- Communication through a representative or an intermediary
- Arranging meetings in rooms which have appropriate facilities
- Rest/comfort breaks in meetings
- Provision for assistance dogs
6. Consideration of Reasonable Adjustments requests
6.1 All requests for reasonable adjustments will be considered on a case by case basis and where advice is needed it will be sought from Chambers Equality and Diversity officers.
6.2 Requests for reasonable adjustments will be acknowledged within two weeks of Chambers receiving the request. The response will set out a decision as regards the request or will set out any further information Chambers a decision.
6.3 In the majority of cases Chambers will be able to agree requests for reasonable adjustments.
9 KBW consideration of whether an adjustment is ‘reasonable’ or not depends on a number of factors including:
The effectiveness of the adjustment/s in preventing or reducing the disadvantage for the disabled person
- The practicality of making the adjustment/s for Chambers
- The availability of Chambers resources, including external assistance and finance
- Any disruption to Chambers activity that making the adjustment might cause
6.4 There is no formal appeal procedure however where it is not possible to make the adjustment requested Chambers will provide reasons for the decision and discuss any viable alternatives with the individual concerned. 4
7. Cost of making reasonable adjustments
7.1 Under no circumstances will Chambers pass on the cost of a reasonable adjustment to a disabled person.
8.1 This policy is reviewed by the Equality and Diversity officers for 9KBW every two years or earlier in light of changes to the law.
9. Complaints about our service
9.1 Chambers is committed to providing services to a high standard and in a way that is fair and non-discriminatory. If an applicant for reasonable adjustment/s is dissatisfied with 9KBW response to a request for reasonable adjustments they may consult Chambers complaints policy for information about how to make a service complaint, by visiting the “About Us” page of 9 KBW website.
Role of Chambers Equality and Diversity Officer
The Code of Conduct1 requires all sets of chambers to appoint a member of chambers to have responsibility for equality and diversity issues within chambers. 9 KBW has two nominated officers chosen by election at the Chambers AGM
Chambers Equality and Diversity Officers (EDDO’s) have responsibility for the whole range of diversity issues (race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, religious belief
The EDDO’s role will involve the following:-
* development and implementation of chambers Equality and Diversity Policy. Ensuring that all policies within chambers are in accordance with the requirements of the Equality and Diversity Policy.
* providing or organising equality and diversity training or briefing for members of chambers and staff.
* Providing training on fair selection techniques to all members and staff who have a role in selection of members/pupils/staff or others temporarily in Chambers
* advising Head of Chambers, Secretary of Pupillage Committee, members of Chambers Management Committee on equality and diversity issues.
* advising individual members or chambers staff on equality and diversity issues.
* Providing an informal route for the resolution of grievances arising out of equality and diversity issues.
* analysing the monitoring data from pupillage or staff recruitment exercises and ensuring that these analyses are brought to the attention of relevant members of chambers and that any recommendations are acted upon.
The EDDO’s should exercise these functions in accordance with the management structure in chambers and should ensure that the role and function is known to all members of chambers and chambers staff. He or she should not only work closely with the chambers management
structure but must also be available for advising the most junior member of staff or chambers pupil.
Chambers will be requested, through the annual chambers returns, to notify the Bar Council of the name of their Equality and Diversity officers And their nominated Diversity Data Officer. This will enable the BSB to target their information on equal opportunities initiatives to the most appropriate members of chambers.