BREAK TIME TRIBUNAL CASE IS WAKE-UP CALL FOR BOSSES SAYS MILLER HENDRY

Scottish firms risk falling foul of the law if they fail to enable staff to take their rest breaks.

The stark warning comes from Tayside solicitors’ firm Miller Hendry in the wake of a recent Employment Tribunal case in England, where an employer was found to have failed to facilitate breaks – even though the employee in question hadn’t asked for one!

The case was brought by an worker who was running a roadside traffic management system. He argued that he had been denied his legal entitlement to rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations 1998.

The job with Abellio London Ltd involved regulating bus services to match road traffic conditions. Mr Grange, the employee, had a working day of 8.5 hours, including a half-hour lunch break. When it proved difficult for him to take a break, because of the nature of the job, his employer changed his working day to eight hours. The idea was that he would work without a break, but finish half an hour earlier.

All workers are entitled to a 20-minute rest break after six hours of working under the Working Time Regulations, and if the entitlement is breached then an employee can make a claim if the employer ‘has refused to permit him’ to exercise the right.

The key question, which took Mr Grange’s case to appeal, was whether an employee could make such a claim when he had not actively requested the break, and so had not received a direct refusal from the employer.

Although the Employment Tribunal first held that there had to be an actual refusal of a request, the Appeal Tribunal held that workers should be positively enabled to take breaks by the employer.

In making the decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal highlighted that minimum rest periods are essential for the protection of health and safety and said there should be no distinction between entitlements and obligations.

Alan Matthew, employment law expert at Miller Hendry, believes it’s important for companies to have a clear policy.

He commented: “The important thing to take away from this is that employers should not wait for rest breaks to be requested, instead they must be proactive in making sure that working arrangements enable workers to take those breaks.  Otherwise, where the arrangement of the working day makes it difficult or prevents workers from taking a break, this may be taken as a denial of a right.”

He added: “It’s important to have a clear policy, and to make sure that everyone in the company knows and understands how to take their break. This is particularly relevant to employers in sectors where employees often work long shifts and it is difficult to stop and take a break, such as social care, where continuity of care is vital. But it is equally important that all employers take it into account at busy periods, such as the run up to the Christmas holiday, and make sure that workers can take the required rest breaks, even if they choose not to.”

Broadcaster Lesley Riddoch brings her Nordic House tour to Perth

Award-winning journalist, commentator and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch will take guests on a guided tour of the Nordic House art exhibition in the Local and Family History department at Perth’s AK Bell Library next month.

The special event on Thursday, February 2, from 6-8pm, is a unique chance to hear more about the exhibition’s origins and contributors from its director Lesley Riddoch in an informal setting.

Nordic House was first unveiled in July 2015 at the Storytelling Centre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Exploring the links between Scotland and the Nordic nations, it showcases wild Arctic seascapes, Icelandic lava fields, Denmark’s oldest allotment gardens, women fishing on the Baltic, and a subsidence-threatened Swedish mining town.

The exhibition includes reproductions of work by:

  • Kaare Espolin Johnson (1907-1994) – who produced striking images of people and seascapes from his native Finnmark in northern Norway despite being almost blind.
  • Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972) – an orphan and fisherman who became Iceland’s most prolific painter using a variety of styles to depict landscape and lava formation.
  • Åland women – photographs from three collections showing women fishing, working as merchant seamen and sailing from the Finnish Åland islands to Helsinki in the 1920s.
  • Vennelyst – photos of Copenhagen’s oldest allotment gardens where families traditionally moved to live for the summer – comparing life at the turn of two centuries — 1900 and 2000.
  • Kiruna – photos and a film of the Arctic Swedish mining town, currently being moved 4kms, building by building, to avoid a massive crack in the earth caused by subsidence.

Fair City Knits will also be exhibiting their work alongside the art.

Lesley Riddoch is a great admirer of the Nordic way of life. She co-founded the think tank, Nordic Horizons, with Scottish Government funding in 2010. This project brought Nordic experts and specialists to Scotland to share social policy insights and experiences.

Lesley studied for a PhD with Strathclyde and Oslo universities comparing the cabin traditions of Norway and Scotland. Her book ‘Blossom: What Scotland Needs To Flourish’ also explores how the Nordic nations manage to attain top places in international league tables of productivity, wellbeing, health and GDP.

Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth and Kinross welcomed the exhibition to Perth.

She said: “Scotland has long celebrated its links with the Nordic nations and Culture Perth and Kinross is delighted to welcome such an important and fascinating touring exhibition to Perth. The added attraction of Lesley Riddoch’s talk is a real coup for the AK Bell Library and looks certain to generate huge interest in the subject.”

Tickets for Lesley Riddoch’s Nordic House Tour cost £3 and are available via www.eventbrite.co.uk Advance booking is advised

 

Grandparents help cash-strapped millennials onto housing ladder

Cash-strapped millennials are getting a helping hand onto the property ladder thanks to their big-hearted grandparents.

Members of the older generation are increasingly choosing to leave all or part of their estates to their grandchildren so they can afford to buy a home of their own.

The news comes after the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently produced a report suggesting that those born in the early 1980s have significantly less wealth than those born in the previous decade at around the same age.

The trend comes as no surprise to Caroline Fraser, a partner in Miller Hendry’s Dundee office.

She said: “The IFS report shows that people in their early 30s have average household wealth per adult of £27,000. This is just under half the average wealth that those born in the early 1970s would have had at the same age (£53,000). These figures illustrate a significant generational wealth gap and highlights the difficulties younger generations face when trying to get on to the housing ladder.”

In October 2016 the UK government’s Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, suggested that people should consider leaving all or part of their estates to their grandchildren rather than their children to help them get on the housing ladder.

Mr Barwell also revealed that his mother had chosen to leave her house to her grandchildren rather than himself and his brother.

Caroline added: “We regularly have clients who wish to consider passing on part of their estates to their grandchildren to try and help them get on the property ladder. Scottish prices have been steadily rising with the average price of a property being £143,131 in October 2016. This is 4% higher than the year before. If our clients wish to pass on part of their estates to their grandchildren it is important to look at all of their options to allow them to make a decision that is right for them and their family.”

Student Blog- “My first day in the real world”

Today I started working for Volpa as part of the placement programme offered by my course and it was my first proper experience in the world of work associated with my degree. It was an amazing experience, so very different from my part-time job of convenience which just helps me say I am self-sufficient.

The day started off with a presentation on the story of Volpa and a short bios done by half of the team – the first part of a ‘meet and greet’ between co-workers after a wave of new employees which expanded the team significantly. It was different, it was refreshing, and it gave you a sense of belonging. The atmosphere at work, how open and friendly everyone is gives a sense of belonging to a lovely extend family and it made me think of my visit at Google headquarters – where an inclusive, open, and friendly atmosphere was ever-present.

I went into the placement programme without a preference for one or other area of business for the simple fact that liking and understanding the theory of a specific area is not indicative of how fulfilling or engaging working in that area is; especially when the company you work for and its culture, value, and environment are all very important factors in determining whether one loves their job or hates it. Now, I can confidently say that, so far, my experience at Volpa has made me very interested in the area of marketing and in their approach to delivering all-encompassing services.

After lunch I had the chance to look over some of the currently ongoing projects and familiarise myself with the template of proposals for future projects. I find the integrated approach Volpa has to delivering the end service very well suited to its corporate culture and it helps deliver a much more well-rounded and complete service at very high standards; also, I think it helps nurture the sense of community as everybody interacts with everybody else and ensures that nobody feels like they are alone or that they might not have anyone to turn to, even if it is just for a pep-talk.

My mentor, Fraser, encouraged me to choose a project on which I would like to work and follow it along throughout the duration of my placement (he said I’ll be working on several short-term ones as well but taking into account that I am there only once a week some projects might be finished by the time I am in next so a long-term one gives a certain continuation and allows me to follow the development of it in-depth). I chose working on the marketing campaign for the St Andrews Aquarium which is bound to be very interesting and challenging but in a fulfilling way.

Now, all that is left to do is hope that my proposed advertising campaign (to Fraser’s specifications) will make sense and be feasible – fingers crossed till next time!

Silvia

CHARLIE’S BACK ON TOP WITH OLYMPIC QUALIFIER

Determined British alpine skier, Charlie Guest has qualified for the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang 2018 after solid World Cup results in Maribor, Slovenia and Falchau, Austria this week.

Charlie has battled her way back to the top after a career threatening crash on the slopes in late 2014 left her with four broken vertebrae.  Her commitment and fighting spirit saw her return to the slopes a mere 6 weeks after the accident.  In an 18 month long journey back to full fitness, she was crowned British Ladies National Slalom Champion after a triumphant win at the Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships in 2016.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine World Cup tour is the premier circuit for alpine skiing competition.  With 175,000 EUR up for grabs in prize money divided among the top 30 finishers, Flachau remains the highest paying race on the ladies’ World Cup circuit and is a favourite with the large crowds who come to enjoy the entertainment and party atmosphere.

Charlie made her FIS World Cup debut at Flachau in 2013.  On Tuesday night she finished just 0.8 from making her first top 30, illustrating her performance is now better than ever. “Over the first two split times I was ranked in 35 and gaining, unfortunately I made a mistake coming into the finish over the last roll and dropped back to 42. I am obviously disappointed not to be in the top 30 but to take home another Olympic Qualifying result is a massive positive for me”

The official selection for the Olympic Team won’t be made until this time next year, and Charlie remains focussed on her next result. “I now have a couple of days recovery and a good block of training before heading back into the European Cup circuit. The next races will be in Melchsee Frutt, Switzerland and Bad Wiessee, Germany. I am looking to be firmly inside the top 10 there and they will be important to gain confidence and good form in the run up to the World Championships in February.”

“Qualifying for the 2018 games has been on my goal sheets for as long as I can remember, so it is really special to get that box ticked and now, I can keep concentrating on improving my performances over the next month heading into the World Championships in St.Moritz. I have such an amazing team around me and they are key in every step of the way, so a massive thank you has to go out to them for their support over the last years.”

To follow Charlie’s progress visit www.charlieguest.com

CITY OF CULTURE WIN WOULD BE “ICING ON THE CAKE” FOR PERTH, SAY CITY EXECS

Winning City of Culture status would be “the icing on the cake” for a city that is already witnessing exciting development plans, according to Perth city executives.

Speaking after the formal launch of the 2021 UK City of Culture Competition on Thursday, Culture Perth and Kinross, the charitable trust set up to deliver and develop museum and library services in Perth & Kinross, described Perth’s bid as “extremely strong”.

Helen Smout, Chief Executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, said:

“We’re excited that the UK City of Culture competition has officially launched and we believe our bid is an extremely strong one. Perth received city status in 2012. The cultural development plans and our application for City of Culture status are the latest steps on the road to putting Perth, deservedly, on the map.”

Charles Kinnoull, Chair of the Board of Culture Perth and Kinross, said:

“Here in Perth we have beauty, history and geographical location on our side. We also have a commitment by Perth and Kinross Council and Culture Perth and Kinross to regenerate the region’s cultural offerings. The City of Culture bid is a natural extension of this, and gaining City of Culture status would be the icing on the cake for us.”

Perth & Kinross Council Leader Ian Miller said:

“In our bid we have focussed on the ability to present a world-class cultural programme and the extent to which communities are engaged and gaining long-term benefits. These are two areas where Perth can excel: we have a hugely active cultural community and will be developing outstanding venues in the Theatre, Perth Museum and Art Gallery and City Hall – with our request to loan the Stone of Destiny front and centre of the programme.

“We have had fantastic community support and input, through our community cultural celebration, online and face to face. With past experience of hosting large scale event such as the Ryder Cup, with its successful legacy programme, we know we can pull this off.”

Perth officially launched its intention to bid in August 2016 and the announcement has gathered increasing support from the local community and beyond.

The Perth 2021 bid is based on the Fair City’s strong cultural identity and heritage. A campaign to bring the Stone of Destiny to Perth is a pivotal part of the bid, which also showcases the city’s unique assets, including Perth Concert Hall, Perth Theatre, Perth Museum and Art Gallery and Perth City Hall.

The prestigious 2021 UK City of Culture title is a chance to use arts and culture as a catalyst for a city’s economic and social regeneration. Running every four years, the competition is also an opportunity to raise the profile of a city’s creative reputation right across the country.

Perth’s bid – which also seeks to highlight a thriving arts and cultural offering across the entire Perth and Kinross region – is supported by Dundee City Council, which is bidding to be European Capital of Culture for 2023.

The 2021 team also has the backing of regeneration guru Wayne Hemingway. A Design Council Trustee and Professor in The Built Environment Department of Northumbria University, Wayne is, more importantly, known for his innovative and creative approaches to regeneration, housing and culture, making him an ideal ambassador for what Perth2021 is trying to achieve.

Commenting on Thursday’s formal launch, UK Government Minister Andrew Dunlop said:

“The UK City of Culture competition is a fantastic opportunity for the winning city to really put itself on the map. The title is a unique opportunity to drive artistic innovation, bring in visitors, and boost regeneration and economic growth. It would be great to bring the title to Scotland, and I urge Scottish towns and cities to get involved.

Phil Redmond, chair of the competition’s independent advisory panel, said:

“Having been on the journey from Liverpool 2008, Derry-Londonderry 2013 and now Hull 2017, I am delighted other cities will have the opportunity to bid and build upon the award for 2021.

“The launch of the 2021 competition comes in the same month Hull kicks off its year as UK City of Culture 2017. Derry-Londonderry was the first UK City of Culture in 2013.”

Cities have till the end of January to register interest, with final bids due by the end of April. A shortlist will be announced in July and the winning city in December.

BOSSES BRACED FOR ‘THUNDERSNOW’ SICKNOTES AS STORMS BATTER TAYSIDE

Tayside employers worried about the impact this week’s forecasted ‘thundersnow’ storms may have on their business are urged to check out an online guide published by solicitors firm Miller Hendry.

Responding to an increase in enquiries about how small businesses should prepare for the winter season, employment law expert Alan Matthew has written the informative guidance document.

His advice is particularly relevant as the media is predicting travel chaos this week in the wake of a Yellow Weather Warning issued by the Met Office for wind, snow and thunderstorms across the region.

Mr Matthew believes it is vital that both employees and employers know their rights, and put relevant plans in place to minimise disruption to all parties.

Commenting on what has now become an inevitable annual challenge for many businesses, Alan said:

“This week’s Yellow Weather Warning has thrown into sharp focus what is potentially a significant problem for many businesses in the Tayside area. In the past we’ve had whole areas cut off from transport and power for several days, and many businesses have found themselves struggling to operate on a skeleton staff, while many employees have battled the weather conditions in an attempt to travel to work, simply adding to the chaos caused by the weather.

“There are numerous ways to pre-empt plans for when bad weather strikes, and businesses shouldn’t just rely on ‘common sense’ to kick in because it can be a costly for them if their staff are unable to get to work, or are required to stay at home because local schools have been closed – a decision outwith their control.

“I’d urge anyone who has concerns about how their business will operate in such conditions to pop onto our website and take a look at our briefing which clearly outlines the legal position for managing these situations and suggests options that employers should be considering now, before the first sprinkle of snow is upon us.”

For more information on winter weather guidance for employers, please visit http://www.millerhendrysolicitors.co.uk/employeeabsenceduetobadweather

DUNDEE’S COMMON GOOD FUND GIVES £40,000 BOOST TO RRS DISCOVERY AS IT MATCHES CROWDFUNDING MONEY

A campaign to help conserve the historic ship RRS Discovery has been given an extra boost by Dundee City Council.

Following a highly successful public crowdfunding campaign that raised more than £40,000 in five weeks, Dundee Heritage Trust – which runs the famous Antarctic exploration ship as a visitor attraction – successfully applied for matching funding from the Council’s Common Good Fund.

Dundee City Council this week confirmed that Trust’s application for £40,000 has been successful. Dundee Heritage Trust launched the public appeal as part of a nine-month cleaning and repair project to the ship’s rigging and masts, which will cost £350,000 in total.

Lord Provost Bob Duncan said:

“Approving this request sends a strong signal that the local community is fully behind the efforts to repair and replace Discovery’s masts and rigging.

“Keeping this major attraction at the heart of our waterfront shipshape and ready for future generations of visitors to see and experience their heritage is an important part of Dundee.

“As the sole remaining survivor of Dundee’s long and proud wooden shipbuilding tradition, Discovery would be important enough, but add to that her adventures in the Antarctic and granting the funding request was something we had to do.”

Paul Jennings, executive director for Dundee Heritage Trust, said:

“We are delighted that our application to the Common Good Fund has been successful and Lord Provost Duncan’s comments underline what we learned from our crowdfunding campaign: that Dundee and Dundonians are proud of RRS Discovery and committed to ensuring that this local and national treasure is properly maintained and preserved for the future.”

Dundee Heritage Trust still welcomes contributions towards the overall cost of the £350,000 rigging project. Anyone wishing to support it should contact Brian Kelly, development officer for Dundee Heritage Trust, or Paul Jennings, executive director for Dundee Heritage Trust. Email Brian on dhtdevelopment@dundeeheritage.co.uk or Paul onpaul.jennings@dundeeheritage.co.uk or call 01382 309060.

For more information visit www.rrsdiscovery.com

TRAVELS TO PRESENT DAY ANTARCTICA – ROGER SLADE

“Travels to present day Antarctica” is a new photographic exhibition from Roger Slade depicting the cold landscape of the last great wilderness on earth.

Opening in the Discovery Point Cafe Gallery on Saturday 14th January, the exhibition features more than 40 eye-catching images from areas such as the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands and the sub Antarctic islands of South Georgia and the Falklands. It aims to give a taste of what life is like on the coldest, highest, windiest and most remote continent on our planet.

Roger, a former geography teacher and education consultant, has worked as a full-time photographer for a number of years. During each Antarctic summer, he works as a photographer, lecturer and driver for a company which runs specialist trips to Antarctica.

Roger, who will be giving a free talk on his exhibition later the same evening, said:

“I am totally besotted with the Antarctic and admit I am an unashamed Antarctica “geek”, having never lost the excitement and enthusiasm I felt when I first set foot on the Antarctic continent. I feel it is a privilege to be lucky enough to visit and I hope the photographs go some way to showing visitors what I have experienced.”

Louisa Attaheri, curator for Dundee Heritage Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be showcasing Roger’s stunning photographs here at Discovery Point. The beauty and fragility of the Antarctic landscape really comes across, giving a further insight of what it must have been like for Scott’s men during their Antarctic expedition all those years ago”.

The exhibition is in the Discovery Point Café Gallery from Saturday 14th January until Thursday 13th April. Admission is free.

Roger will be giving a free talk about his work and a chance to preview the exhibition on Friday 13th January at 6pm at the Falcon Scott Suite, Discovery Point.10

VOLPA PUSHES FOR EXPANSION IN 2017

Perth-based communications agency Volpa has announced three new recruits as it pushes for further expansion in 2017 and another year of rapid growth.

Alison Lowson, former regional editor of Media Scotland title, Perthshire Advertiser, joins the agency in January to bolster Volpa’s media relations and crisis management offering. She will be joined by Susannah Nixon, formerly of Glasgow based 88 Events, and Linda Allan, formerly of Culture PK, who both join the burgeoning publicity team.

The award-winning marketing firm has made a name for itself as one of the leading independent agencies in the UK, according to industry magazine The Drum, adding several big names to its client roster over the last two years.

These latest recruits see its staff complement swell to 14, making it the biggest marketing agency in Perthshire.

Volpa provides marketing, public relations, design and digital services. Its newest contracts include digital services for Perth & Kinross Council’s Perth 2021 UK City of Culture bid, marketing services for Culture PK which operates the region’s libraries, museums and art galleries, public relations for Dundee Heritage Trust which operate Dundee city’s biggest most visited tourist attractions.

These clients join an impressive portfolio at Volpa which includes high-profile names in tourism and hospitality such as The Enchanted Forest, St. Andrews Aquarium, The Famous Grouse Experience, Balhousie Care Group, Horsecross Arts, Stirling Venues Scotland’s Secret Bunker, Dundee Science Centre and Scone Palace.

The past two years have seen rapid growth for Volpa. Late last year the company expanded its office space at Castlecroft’s King James VI Business Centre, demonstrating its commitment to its position in the city of Perth.

Tricia Fox, managing director of Volpa, commented:

“The last two years have been a very speedy journey of growth for Volpa but the demand for our services continues apace. I’m delighted to have three new team members joining us this month who bring a very wide skill set to what is certainly one of the hardest working marketing teams in the region. In particular Alison brings a very deep understanding of local news which is vitally important for us as an agency, as well as particular experience in crisis handling which is a growth area of the business for us.”

Alison joins Volpa after an extensive career in regional news titles including, latterly, the Perthshire Advertiser and the Stirling Observer. She was at the heart of the story when the Dunblane tragedy broke in Stirling leading her to “write the manual” for how Scottish & Universal Newspapers, now owned by Media Scotland, manage crisis stories.

Alison commented:

“Volpa is one of the UK’s most successful independent agencies and I’m hugely excited to be joining such an innovative and creative team as the company continues its impressive expansion. As the UK’s media scene continues to develop and evolve at a lightning pace, getting your message across has never been more important for both business and public sector organisations, and I’m looking forward to bringing my experience in regional and national press to Volpa’s wide range of clients.”

In 2016 Volpa was also listed in the national Recommended Agency Register (RAR) of marketing services suppliers for the eighth year running, as well as several awards nominations and wins including the Scottish Event Awards Best Marketing Strategy for the third time, the only company in Scotland to have won it more than once, a second shortlisting for Outstanding Small PR Consultancy at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Scotland’s PRide Awards, and a second consecutive shortlisting for Business Growth at the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Business Star Awards.

Managing Director Tricia Fox, whose career in marketing spans more than two decades, said:

“I’m very excited about what 2017 will mean to Volpa. We celebrate 15 years in business later this year. We’ve seen off two major recessions since I founded the company and, like many businesses over this period, we’ve also had our share of ups and downs. We’re on a growth trajectory now and I expect that to continue during 2017 and well into 2018. Our new recruits are a vital step in ensuring that we are geared up to deliver when, most importantly, our clients need us most.”