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Companies must do more to keep in touch with women on maternity leave

In a recent interview, Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, has said that companies must do more to keep in touch with women when they are on maternity leave.
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Companies must do more to keep in touch with women on maternity leave

Are the new disclosure rules on pay ratios sufficient to combat excessive pay disparity?

A recent poll of MPs indicates that questions are already being raised as to whether the new pay rules go far enough in tackling pay disparity.
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Are the new disclosure rules on pay ratios sufficient to combat excessive pay disparity?

Employers to be named and shamed for non-payment of Employment Tribunal awards

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched a naming scheme for employers who fail to pay employment tribunal awards. The naming scheme was recommended in 2017 by the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. All tribunal awards registered with BEIS on or after 18 December 2018 and over £200 in value are in scope of the scheme. The naming scheme will run alongside the BEIS penalty scheme for unpaid tribunal awards (established in April 2016).

Penalty scheme recap

The penalty scheme allows individuals to register unpaid awards 42 days after the date of an employment tribunal judgment. Once the claim is verified by an enforcement officer, the employer will receive a warning notice stating that if they do not pay the outstanding award within 28 days, they will be sent a penalty notice. The penalty notice orders the employer to pay a penalty to the value of 50 per cent of the original award and 8 per cent interest per annum, up to a maximum of £5,000. The financial penalty is paid not to the employee but to the government.

When will an employer be named under the naming scheme?

The employee must have registered the unpaid award with both the penalty scheme and the naming scheme.

At the same time as receiving the penalty notice under the penalty scheme, the employer will receive a naming notification letter. The letter informs the employer that they will be named unless they submit valid representations within 14 days, with the requisite evidence. You can find the circumstances in which representations may be accepted by BEIS here.

If no valid representations are received within 14 days the employer will be automatically named in the next naming round along with the amount of the unpaid award. Employers should also be aware that even if they pay promptly after receiving the notification letter they may still be named. The naming rounds are in the form of quarterly press releases on the gov.uk website.

What are the implications for employers?

The new naming scheme acts as an additional incentive, on top of the penalty scheme, for employers to pay tribunal awards quickly. Employers should be warned that they will now be in double jeopardy if they do not pay the tribunal award in good time, as not only can they receive a penalty but they may also receive bad publicity.

Employers to be named and shamed for non-payment of Employment Tribunal awards

National minimum wage: BEIS launches consultation on salaried hours work and salary sacrifice schemes

In the week before Christmas, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched a consultation on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rules regarding salaried workers and the operation of salary sacrifice schemes. In a letter sent to the British Retail Consortium, business secretary Greg Clark promised to review NMW rules that "unnecessarily burden and penalise" employers after technical breaches have landed several large retailers in trouble. Industry leaders have said it is "essential" that the rules are updated to reflect modern work practices.
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National minimum wage: BEIS launches consultation on salaried hours work and salary sacrifice schemes

Executive pay gap rules now in force

Under regulations which came into force on 1 January 2019, UK-listed companies with more than 250 UK employees must now publish certain executive pay data in their annual reports.

The new regulations are part of the government’s efforts to improve transparency and accountability in corporate governance, and are a response to criticism that companies should justify executive salaries.

Quoted companies with more than 250 UK employees must provide the following in their directors’ remuneration report:

  • the ratio of their CEO’s total remuneration to the median (50th), 25th and 75th percentile full-time equivalent remuneration of their UK employees; and
  • supporting information, including the reasons for changes in ratios from year to year and, in the case of the median ratio, whether, and if so how, the company believes this ratio is consistent with the company’s wider policies on employee pay, reward and progression.

All companies subject to the new regulations are also required to illustrate in the directors’ remuneration report how the growth in the company’s future share price impacts executive pay, and to provide a summary of any discretion that has been exercised on executive remuneration outcomes reported that year in respect of share price appreciation or depreciation during the relevant performance periods.

The new requirements will apply for annual reports produced for financial years starting on or after 1 January 2019. The requirement for companies to illustrate the impact of share price increases will apply to all new remuneration policies introduced on or after 1 January 2019.

Companies affected by the new regulations should ensure that they fully understand what is required of the new regulations, and should begin the process of identifying the data that will be needed to provide the information required by the regulations. It will also be important to consider how the information will be explained and communicated by the business, both externally and to the workforce.

Executive pay gap rules now in force

Right to work checks- a modernised approach

The government has announced changes to modernise the "right to work" checks needed to avoid employing illegal workers in the UK. The changes will take effect from 28 January 2019.
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Right to work checks- a modernised approach

EU Settlement Scheme: Possible tax burden where employers pay application fee on behalf of employees

As you are probably already aware, EU nationals who want to remain in the UK post Brexit will need to apply for residence documentation under the EU Settlement Scheme. Application fees of £65 for adults and £32.50 for children (under the age of 16) will be charged, meaning the cost of applying for a family of four will be close to £200.
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EU Settlement Scheme: Possible tax burden where employers pay application fee on behalf of employees

Supreme Court considers “unfavourable” treatment in relation to disability discrimination

The Supreme Court has found that calculating an employee's pension entitlement based on the employee's part-time salary (where the employee had been prevented from working full-time due to his disability) was not "unfavourable treatment" under the Equality Act. If the employee been able to work full-time he would not have been entitled to immediate payment of his pension.
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Supreme Court considers “unfavourable” treatment in relation to disability discrimination

Government announces measures to tackle sexual harassment at work

Earlier this week the government unveiled measures designed to combat sexual harassment at work. The Women and Equalities Select Committee reported earlier this year that sexual harassment in the workplace is "widespread and commonplace". It recommended that the government put sexual harassment at the top of its agenda, advising that (a) regulators should take a more active role, (b) enforcement processes should be modified to work better for employees and set out in code of practice; and (c) the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should be reviewed.
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Government announces measures to tackle sexual harassment at work

The Good Work Plan – follow-up developments

Following our article earlier this week about the "Good Work Plan", the government has now introduced the first three statutory instruments implementing some of the changes outlined in the Plan:
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The Good Work Plan – follow-up developments