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Declining number of graduate recruitment roles

There have been rumours circulating in the news over the past 12 months about the declining number of graduate roles that will be available in the UK over the next few years. And it seems that those fears have not been unfounded. Research carried out by High Fliers, the student research specialist, has shown that the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters – including Goldman Sachs, Unilever and BP – hired almost 1,000 less graduates in 2016 than they originally anticipated at the start of that year. Many are speculating that this is the result of ongoing and widespread uncertainty about how Brexit will affect businesses in the years ahead. The largest drop was seen in the accounting and professional services companies, banking and finance and investment banking. This trend was also reflected in the private sector, with statistics reporting that graduate recruitment for those business fell 10.3 per cent in 2017.

However, there is some good news! The figures compiled by High Fliers suggest that the top 100 employers are optimistic about the next few years, with many stating that they expect graduate recruitment to recover to some extent, if not entirely. This promises to be an area of keen interest for many employer, particularly those who have historically relied heavily on graduate recruitment.

Declining number of graduate recruitment roles

How to be transparent about your gender pay gap reporting

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How to be transparent about your gender pay gap reporting

Watch out for ‘post employment notice pay’

At the moment contractual payments in lieu of notice are subject to tax and NIC deductions.  In the absence of a contractual right to make a payment in lieu of notice, such a payment is generally regarded as damages for breach of contract, and can be paid without deduction of tax up to the £30,000 threshold.

However, any part of a termination payment paid on or after 6 April 2018 which represents ‘post employment notice pay’ will not benefit from the current £30,000 exemption.

If an employee is not required to work their full notice (whether contractual or statutory and for whatever reason) HMRC will assume that an element of any termination payment includes notice pay and will classify it as ‘post employment notice pay’ which shall be treated as earnings and subject to tax and NIC deductions.

This will certainly be something for employers to bear in mind when negotiating exits and preparing settlement agreements.

Watch out for ‘post employment notice pay’

Surveillance at work

The European Court of Human Rights has found that the covert surveillance of an employee at his or her workplace must be considered to be a considerable intrusion into his or her private life. It entails a recorded and reproducible documentation of a person's conduct at his or her workplace, which he or she, being obliged under the employment contract to perform the work in that place, cannot evade.
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Surveillance at work

Changes to Immigration Rules on continuous residence

In the latest round of changes to the Immigration Rules, two changes to the rules on continuous residence are likely to have a significant impact for many of those looking to secure indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK.
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Changes to Immigration Rules on continuous residence

TIME’S UP

Back in November I blogged about #metoo, the hashtag used to raise awareness of and denounce sexual assault and harassment. This was initially in relation to the abuse of power in the entertainment industry but the hashtag has spread to include not only harassment in the workplace but in every aspect of everyday life. TIME'S UP is a response to #metoo – taking the awareness raised by the hashtag and looking at what can be done to stop sexual harassment for good.
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TIME’S UP

Employment law dates for your diary!

As we switch on our screens and open up our new diaries for the New Year here are some important employment law related dates you should bear in mind:

4 April 2018 – Gender Pay Gap Reporting

If you are required to report (i.e. you had 250 or more employees as at 5 April 2017) then you should have your data analysis well underway! Don’t forget that the first gender pay gap reports must be published by 4 April 2018.

6 April 2018 – Childcare voucher scheme closes to new entrants

This long running benefit scheme will close to new entrants. The voucher scheme will continue for existing users for as long as employers continue to offer this benefit.

25 May 2018 – General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in force in all EU Member States

The introduction of GDPR represents the biggest shake-up of data protection and privacy law in decades and should most definitely be high on your agenda long before the implementation date, if it isn’t already. Key concepts include harmonisation of data protection compliance obligations, expanded territorial scope and enforcement powers, a higher standard of consent for processing data, a risk based approach to compliance and privacy impact assessments.

During 2018 – Planned extension of senior managers and certification regime

In March 2016 the senior managers and certification regime (SM&CR) replaced the “approved persons” regime for individuals working in banks, building societies, credit unions and PRA-designated investment firms, and branches of foreign banks operating in the UK. Following a consultation which closed in November, we are expecting a policy statement from the Financial Conduct Authority during 2018 on the extension of the SM&CR regime to all firms authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

2018 Increases to Statutory Rates and Limits

April will see the usual annual changes to Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Paternity Pay and Adoption Pay all of which are set to increase to £145.18 per week from 9 April 2018. Statutory Sick Pay will increase to £92.05 per week.

National Minimum Wage Rates from 1 April 2018 (per hour):

National Living Wage (25+) – £7.83

Standard adult rate (21+) – £7.38

Development rate (18-20) – £5.90

Young workers rate (16-17) £4.20

Apprentice rate – £3.70

Accommodation Offset Limit – £7.00

And beyond…..look out for reviews of the ACAS Early Conciliation Scheme and the Flexible Working Regulations which are almost certain to keep us busy into 2019!

In terms of caselaw it seems set to be a big year for sexual orientation discrimination cases and there will be more to come on holiday pay and employment status. We will of course keep you updated as and when these decisions are published so please do keep an eye on the blog!

Please get in touch with your usual Dentons contact for advice on any of these areas.

 

Employment law dates for your diary!

World Braille Day 2018

4th January 2018 is World Braille Day. Braille is the system of touch reading and writing that utilises raised dots to represent the letters of the print alphabet and uses symbols to represent punctuation, mathematics and scientific characters, music, computer notation, and foreign languages. Rather than a language, Braille is a code by which all languages may be written and read. Through the use of Braille, people who are blind or visually impaired are able to review and study the written word. For those who use Braille, it is an important tool allowing them to engage with the rest of the workforce and enjoy equal opportunity with other, non visually impaired, work colleagues.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the UK’s leading charity supporting blind and partially sighted people, estimates that two thirds of working age blind and partially sighted people are not in work. The RNIB are particularly concerned that recent government research has shown that 90 per cent of employers believe that it would be impossible or difficult to employ someone with sight loss, presenting huge barriers to those who are visually impaired in terms of finding and securing work. The RNIB are campaigning for increased and improved assistive technology and a fair assessment process that accurately identifies the needs of blind and partially sighted people in the workplace.

Blindness, severe sight impairment, sight impairment and partial sightedness (provided this is certified by a consultant ophthalmologist) are deemed disabilities under the Equality Act 2010. If you employ, or are planning to employ, someone with such a visual impairment you should ensure that you are mindful of your obligation to make reasonable adjustments from the outset and throughout the period of employment.

In terms of recruitment it is likely to be a reasonable adjustment to provide information in a format that is accessible to a blind applicant. It is important to remember that a disabled applicant’s requirements will depend on their impairment and other factors.  Accessible formats could include Braille but could also include email, Easy Read, large print, audio format, and data formats for those who do not read Braille and would prefer to receive the information by another method.

Further examples of reasonable adjustments for employees who are visually impaired can be found in the Equality and Human Rights Commission Code and include facilities for an assistance dog in new/unfamiliar working areas, management instructions to be in Braille, disability equality training to all staff, access to assistive technology such as an adapted portable computer and Braille keyboards.

For more information on employing disabled employees and reasonable adjustments please contact us.

World Braille Day 2018

Tribunal cases on the rise

Tribunal cases have risen by two thirds since July this year, when the Supreme Court abolished tribunal fees in the landmark case of R (on the application of Unison) v. Lord Chancellor. That's an increase of 66 per cent.
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Tribunal cases on the rise

Unpaid internships – should they be a thing of the past?

Under the current law interns are classed as workers, with two big exceptions. Interns are not classed as workers, and therefore are not afforded the protection of national minimum wage (NMW), where (1) the intern is studying at an accredited college or university and is receiving credit for undertaking the internship (the Student Loophole); or where (2) the intern is shadowing employees and not carrying out work themselves (the Shadowing Loophole).
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Unpaid internships – should they be a thing of the past?