Agenda and draft minutes

Employment Matters Committee
Wednesday, 4 December 2019 7.00pm

Venue: Meeting Room 9 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR

Contact: Michael Turner, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

473.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Thompson.

474.

Record of meeting pdf icon PDF 224 KB

To approve the record of the meeting held on 12 June 2019.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting of the Committee held on 12 June 2019 was agreed and signed by the Chairman. 

475.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he/she has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none. 

476.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

 

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

Councillors Khan and Mahil disclosed that they were members of the GMB. Councillor Prenter disclosed that he was a member of ASLEF but noted that this union had no dealings with the Council.

 

477.

Pay negotiations 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 251 KB

This report provides Members with an update on the progress of the pay negotiations for the financial year 2020/2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Assistant Director-Transformation introduced a report on the progress of the pay negotiations for the financial year 2020/2021. She advised that the Council had received a pay claim from UNISON which consisted of four elements:

 

·         a 7% increase on all pay points over 2 years (3.5% per year).

·         a 35 hour working week (no decrease to salary)

·         a commitment to reassess job profiles

·         a return to National Pay Bargaining.

 

Members were advised that, at the earlier meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee, GMB had clarified that they supported UNISON’s pay claim.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the report, the progress made to date under the Pay Negotiations Protocol, and the clarification from the GMB that they supported UNISON’s pay claim.

478.

Proposal to Include the Seven Principles of Public Life in the Employee Code of Conduct pdf icon PDF 90 KB

This report deals with a proposal to include the Seven Principles of Public Life into the current Employee Code of Conduct policy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which advised that, following an internal audit report on ethics it was proposed that the Seven Principles of Public Life be included into the current Employee Code of Conduct policy. This would align the Employee Code of Conduct to the Member Code of Conduct. The policy had also been brought up to date with some minor changes.

 

Members noted that, at the earlier meeting of the Joint Consultative Committee, the Assistant Director-Transformation had undertook to clarify whether the Seven Principles applied to local government employees at all levels of the organisation.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to recommend to Full Council that the Employee Code of Conduct is amended, as set out in appendix 1 of the report, including adding the Seven Principles of Public Life as detailed at Paragraph 3.2 of the report.

 

479.

Family Friendly Policies Update pdf icon PDF 270 KB

As part of the Council’s commitment to being a Family Friendly employer a series of improvements are proposed to ensure policies are up to date with current ACAS guidelines and standard good practice. These include revisions to the Parental Leave Policy & Shared Parental Leave Policy, Maternity & Paternity Policy, and additional entitlement and guidelines relating to employees going through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which advised that, as part of Medway Council’s commitment to being a Family Friendly employer, a series of improvements were being proposed to ensure the Council kept up to date with current ACAS guidelines and standard good practice. These included revisions to the Parental Leave Policy and Shared Parental Leave Policy, Maternity and Paternity Policy, and additional entitlement and guidelines relating to employees going through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

 

Members welcomed the proposals and queried various aspects including whether the IVF guidelines also applied to a partner of an employee receiving IVF treatment, whether maternity leave would apply in the event of a still birth and asked for details of the response from UNISON to the proposals.

 

The Head of HR advised that the IVF guidelines would apply to partners and this would be made clearer in the policy. UNISON had made the same point about still births and she was looking to develop the maternity policy to also include neo-natal care. As part of a separate and wider piece of work, she was discussing with UNISON the Council’s policies generally where they related to disability and carers.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)   approved the proposed changes to the Shared Parental Leave Policy (as set out in Appendix A to the report);

 

b)   approved the proposed changes to the Parental Leave Policy (as set out in Appendix C to the report);

 

c)    approved the proposal to allow for the provision of Special Leave for employees to attend medical appointments related to IVF treatment (as set out in paragraph 4.5 of the report), and also the inclusion of the guidance on IVF treatment, as set out in paragraph 4.6 of the report, to the Maternity and Paternity Policy (Appendix D to the report), and;

 

d)    asked for a report on the outcome of the discussions with UNISON about the Council’s policies where they relate to disability and carers.

 

 

480.

Organisational Change pdf icon PDF 210 KB

This report covers new reviews and transfers for the period 31 May 2019 to 31 October 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report which covered new reviews and transfers for the period 31 May 2019 to 31 October 2019.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the present position and the support

arrangements for staff.

481.

Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies: Report on Instances between September 2018 - September 2019 pdf icon PDF 206 KB

This report advises Members about the nature of concerns raised, between

September 2018 and September 2019, under the Council’s Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members considered a report on the nature of concerns raised, between

September 2018 and September 2019, under the Council’s Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Money Laundering Policies.

                                                                                               

In response to questions the Assistant Director-Administration advised that the concern raised under the whistleblowing policy about financial irregularities related to Medway Commercial Group, details of when the investigation into concerns about racial discrimination would be provided outside the meeting and employees would be made aware of the policies by a variety of means including the induction process and via the intranet and there would also be more of a focus on ensuring staff working in remote sites were made aware.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to note the report.

 

482.

Early Retirement and Severance Payments pdf icon PDF 164 KB

This report presents Members with a report of all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 August 2019.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

This report detailed all decisions taken in relation to early retirements and severance payments for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 August 201

 

Decision:

 

The Committee agreed to defer consideration of this report until the next meeting so that the costs to the Council of staff made redundant or who had taken early retirement, as set out in the report, could be clarified.