Pockets are for Change (and other Employment Challenges)

This week I watched an old episode of The West Wing, the one when Jed Bartlet decides to run for re-election in the face of personal and political challenges.  He doesn’t say as much, but puts his hands in his pockets and smiles, which the viewer knows to mean he’s decided to run.

It made me think that we could all do with a bit of that quiet determination in January and February.

For employers, it might mean embracing those difficult decisions or taking the opportunity to get policies and procedures in order.  Getting ahead of the game in terms of new procedural requirements, such as the Shared Parental Leave Regulations, could also be a challenge best met with a decent amount of steely resolve.

For employees, it might mean re-focusing in light of the Government’s restrictions to limit the Bear Scotland v Fulton holiday pay claims, or seeking to turn a redundancy situation into a positive opportunity for a change.  I have certainly dealt with several employees recently who have impressed me with their attitude to change.

As employment lawyers, we often find ourselves feeling a bit exasperated with the changing nature of the law.  We forget that it was probably one of the reasons why we chose to specialise in employment law in the first place!  With the General Election on the way and inevitable employment law changes to come, the start of this year more than ever seems to be our moment to step up with a positive attitude to change and challenges.

My hands are firmly in my pockets.

Claire Collinge