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Current News For 2018

Gender Pay Gap Reporting 4 April 2018

Large employers who had 250 or more employees on 5 April 2017 are under an obligation to report their gender pay gap data, and they have until 4 April 2018 to do so. The deadline for reporting gender pay gap information is looming.    The information that must be reported includes the difference between male and female average hourly pay and the difference between male and female average bonus pay.   The information must be published on the employer’s website and on a Government website.  To date, over 1300 employers have published their data.

Data Protections Law Changes  25 May

GDPR- General Data Protection Regulation The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will change UK data protection law when they come into force on 25 May 2018.  GDPR compliance will require a greater focus from employers on the legality of processing information and must fully inform employees about the nature of the processing. Employers should be preparing now for the introduction of GDPR. Employers should conduct a data audit to establish what employee data is held, where it was collected from, why it is collected, what it is used for and who it is shared with.  Employers should evaluate the audit results and take further action, including providing employees with fair processing information (in the form of a privacy notice) and refreshing existing or introducing new HR policies.  Processes should be put in place to monitor ongoing compliance with GDPR. Training on the new regulations should be given throughout the organisation before the deadline.

News Flash - Employment Tribunal Claims Rising Rapidly

Recently published statistics from the UK government show Employment Tribunal claims are rapidly increasing.

Why is this happening? To explain this, we need to have a brief look at recent history. The Employment Tribunal was established as a free service with no cost for issuing claims or hearing fees. In some circumstances a party could apply for some or all their litigation costs, but costs were not automatically awarded to the winning party as in Civil Court Claims.

In 2013 the government introduced a fee system. Claimants had to pay an issue fee and a hearing fee. The commencement of these expensive fees quickly reduced claims by 70% each year when compared to 2012.

Unison sued the government arguing the fees were unlawful. The Supreme Court issued their Judgment on 26 July 2017, which found in favour of Unison and abolished the controversial Employment Tribunal fee regime. The government immediately reinstated the zero- cost system. Claims steeply rose again from August to December 2017, meaning overall claims were up by 40% compared to 2016. Statistics issued by the government post July 2017 to February 2018 show a steep rise in claims of between 70% to 100% when comparing each month to the same month in 2016.   Figures issued in March 2018 show a 90% rise in ET1 claim forms received compared to the first quarter of last year.

Previous News Stories

Settlement Agreements   June 2016

Taxation of termination payments is under reform, the government has now issued its response and has put out for consultation detailed proposals on changes to taxation of termination payments.

Under these proposals, the £30,000 tax exemption for termination payments would remain, but both contractual and non-contractual payments in lieu of notice would be fully taxable.

Technical changes would be made to align the treatment of tax and national insurance contributions, and payments for injury to feelings (short of personal injury) would not come under the exemption for payments made on account of injury.

The proposals are out for consultation until 5 October 2016, with the expectation that any changes will come into effect from April 2018.

News: Brexit - Will it be a can of worms for UK Employers? August 2016

As the dust settles after the 23 June EU Referendum result to leave the European Union, Employers ask will Employment Law Change?

Nothing has changed yet, and nothing can change until we compete the exit process.

Withdrawal process
To leave the UK must trigger the process by a ‘withdrawal notice’ (Article 50). The UK then has a maximum of two years in which to negotiate the terms of its withdrawal from the EU and conclude the process. This process has to be ratified by the UK Parliament.

The UK’s exit does not mean that all EU-derived law will disappear overnight. The Brexit negotiation process will include which laws will be affected, and depending on the strength of the EU, and the political will of the UK government in power, we may either see few changes or many. Any changes will need to be individually repealed or reformed.

It is not possible to advise as to what amendments will be made to workplace law, it is possible to predict a few areas that are the most likely to change.

The following areas could see change.
Immigration: free movement
The EU has said the UK must continue to allow the free movement of EU workers if it wants to trade in Europe after its withdrawal. UK politicians have suggested that a points-based system could be used to govern EU migrants coming to the UK in the future. This appears to be the key issue for the EU.

The government has stated that it expects the legal status of EU nationals here, and UK nationals in member states, to be “properly protected” as a result of negotiations to leave the EU.  The EU’s free movement rules will not change Until the UK’s exit is complete.

The current rules do not require EU nationals to register for any documentation, and EU nationals automatically have permanent residence rights after five years in the UK, and have the option of applying for British citizenship after six years here.
Holidays/working time: opt outs
The UK’s statutory paid holidays (5.6 weeks) go beyond the EU minimum (20 days) and are unlikely to be repealed, but the government may wish to amend the rules on calculating holiday pay and on opting out of the 48 hour-week regulations contained it the European Working Times Directive.
Equality: compensation cap
We may see a cap put on discrimination compensation but many equality laws (for example, those on sex, race and disability, and on equal pay) predate the UK joining the EU and are unlikely to be repealed.

Transfer of undertakings (Tupe)
The UK’s transfer regulations exceed the requirements of the EU directive by including ‘service provision changes’. The block on harmonising terms and conditions following a Tupe transfer (which originates in EU case law) may come under scrutiny.

Data protection: new rules

The EU General Data Protection Regulations 2016 have to be implemented in the UK by May 2018. Even if withdrawal is complete by that time, the UK will still need to comply with cross-border data protection laws if it wishes to keep its EU trading partners.

The above predictions are simply predictions and we will provide further updates as the Brexit Negotiations take place.