A report recently undertaken by three labour market economists has found that 44% of workers on zero-hours contracts would like more working hours. In addition, and in contrast to the "flexibility" argument often put forward in support of the use of zero-hours contracts, only 28% of those surveyed saw flexibility as the basis for entering into one.
A number of City law firms and banking legal teams have joined forces to tackle long and unpredictable working hours in an attempt to improve lawyers' wellbeing and mental health. The Mindful Business Charter, fittingly launched on World Mental Health Day, was drawn up by Barclays alongside law firms Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard.
The number of workers in Scotland taking employers to task in the Employment Tribunal over unfair pay and conditions has seen a five-fold increase after controversial Employment Tribunal fees were scrapped. The fee regime, which saw employees paying up to £1,200 to pursue a case, was scrapped in July last year following a Supreme Court ruling that the charges were unlawful. Current UK government figures show equal pay cases accounting for the bulk of claims – an increase of 360%. Unfair dismissal claims also increased by 84% over the period, while sex discrimination claims went up by almost 50% and disability discrimination claims increased by 100%.
Recent research published by the British Medical Journal suggests that senior doctors from black or minority ethnic ('BME') backgrounds earn approximately 4.9% (or £5,000) less in mean basic pay than their colleagues from a white ethnic background within the NHS.
New legislation is expected to be implemented to ban restaurants from keeping tips from their employees. The intention is restaurant owners will not be able to make deductions from tips which are paid by card in order to fund administration costs.
The shadow chancellor John McDonnell has revealed details of Labour's employee ownership policy which would see every company with more than 250 staff set up an "inclusive ownership fund" (IOF). Under the proposal, an IOF would own up to 10 per cent of the company's equity on its workers' behalf.
The recent decision of the Deputy Pensions Ombudsman in a complaint by the estate of a deceased employee against Belfast City Council (BCC) highlights that employers are required to make appropriate enquiries and provide sufficient advice to employees to ensure that they are able to make the best choices regarding their pension benefits.
An employee giving notice does not necessarily amount to an unambiguous act of resignation from employment, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found in East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust v Levy.
New guidance from the UK Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides employers with a timely reminder in relation to their obligations when providing and obtaining references which is an area in which employers can easily fall foul if they are not careful.
Earlier this month we blogged on the CIPD's latest quarterly labour market snapshot which found that the number of applicants per vacancy had significantly decreased across all skill levels in the last 12 months.
The ONS has now released its August quarterly report on the UK migration statistics for the year ending March 2018 and the report highlights some interesting shifts in the patterns of EU migration in and out of the UK.
The Apprenticeship Levy, which came into force in April 2017, requires employers with pay bills over £3 million to pay 0.5% of their total gross pay bill to the government (through PAYE) which is then used to fund approved apprenticeship programmes. Each employer has an annual Apprenticeship Levy allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy liability.
A female council worker has settled her sex discrimination claim for £25,000. She was instructed to go to a different office, ahead of an inspector's visit, to clean the kitchen and the toilets. She was told the toilets "needed a woman's touch" despite the fact that cleaning was not within her job description.
A recent survey from YouGov has found that only 6% of Brits now work 9am-5pm and nearly half of those surveyed worked flexibly through job-sharing flexitime or compressed hours. The study shows that the most preferred working hours are 8am-4pm (chosen by 37% of the respondents) with another 21% saying they would prefer to start work even earlier at 7am and finish at 3pm.
A study conducted by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that only 4 UK government departments display their parental leave and pay policies on their external websites. This is despite the fact that the government has launched a new "Share the joy" campaign, intended to encourage more parents to utilise shared parental leave, and is spending £1.5 million to increase awareness.
Eid al-Adha (known as the festival of sacrifice), the Islamic holiday marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage, is due to begin this coming Tuesday (21 August). The festival is celebrated with prayer and feast, typically on a large scale with Muslims in their respective communities coming together to partake in the festivities. Many Muslims may request time off work to celebrate Eid al-Adha, so here are a few considerations for employers to bear in mind as the holiday approaches.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a significant fall in the number of days employees are taking off work due to sickness. The ONS reported that an average of 4.1 sick days were taken in 2017, compared to 7.1 in 1993 (the year records began).
The recent case of Lancaster & Duke v. Wileman is a useful reminder to employers that terminating an employee's employment in the week before they gain two years' continuous service may still enable an employee to claim that they have the requisite qualifying service to bring a claim for ordinary unfair dismissal.
Acas has issued its first annual report since the July 2017 Supreme Court judgment declaring employment tribunal fees unlawful (a previous blog post on the possible effects of that decision can be found here).
The Government Equality Office (GEO) is proposing reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004. This Act enables transgender people to obtain legal recognition of their acquired gender by the issuing of a Gender Recognition Certificate and changing the sex on their birth certificate.
A recent case has considered the issue of what amounts to a protected disclosure. In Kilraine v. London Borough of Wandsworth , the Court of Appeal guided Employment Tribunals in such cases to focus on determining whether there was a "protected disclosure" and whether the disclosed information, showed or tended to show that one or more of the six specified types of malpractice had taken place or was likely to take place – for example a breach of a legal obligation.
Dentons' Reward team are advising the Representative Beneficiaries of the Barnardo's Staff Pension Scheme ("the Scheme") in an application to the Supreme Court to decide whether the Scheme rules permit a switch from RPI to CPI for revaluation or indexation of pension payments.
A recent Employment Tribunal's ruling suggests that the physical and psychological effects of the menopause could constitute a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 (the 2010 Act) Ms Davies, a court officer for the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service, had experienced the onset of the menopause resulting in her becoming severely anaemic, stressed and anxious, and experiencing memory loss.
In the week after Father's Day in the UK, insurance provider Aviva commissioned a report into Shared Parental Leave (SPL) polling 1,000 fathers and 1,000 mothers with children aged 16 and under nationwide.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) has launched an inquiry into automation and the future of work. The purpose of the inquiry is to consider two points.
1.The inquiry will look at the impact automation will have on UK businesses and the potential it has for productivity, growth and re-industrialisation. It will focus on specific questions about automation such as which sectors are most likely to be affected by automation, and whether businesses receive enough financial support when opting to automate.
2.The inquiry will also look at the impact automation will have on workers. The inquiry will consider what policies and actions should be in place to reskill workers and the role Government should play to support this.
In the recent case of Roddis v Sheffield Hallam University, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that an employee on a zero hours contract could compare himself to a colleague on a full-time contract for the purposes of bringing a claim for less favourable treatment under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (the PTW Regulations).
The Supreme Court handed down its judgment yesterday in the case of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Gary Smith  UKSC 29 confirming (as the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal had) that Mr Smith was a worker within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act and not, as Pimlico Plumbers contended, self-employed.
The Hampton-Alexander Review, an independent review backed by the government to scrutinise the gender balance of boards at the top of the country's leading companies, released a report this week which lists some of the excuses given by companies for a lack of female representation on their boards.
The recent case of Mbubaegbu v Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides an interesting insight into the circumstances in which employers can summarily dismiss an employee for misconduct.
One of the biggest barriers to gender equality and pay parity is a continuing resistance by employers to embrace agile working. A recent joint study from flexible working specialists, Timewise, and Deloitte set out a five step plan to help employers establish and implement new working cultures with the aim of improving pay parity between men and women.
When the Supreme Court reached its landmark decision on the legality of employment tribunal (ET) fees last summer (we previously blogged about this here) the court reviewed the evidence regarding the effect of fees on ET claims and noted there had been "a dramatic and persistent fall in the number of claims" since fees were controversially introduced in 2013.
As the gig economy has grown and developed, so too has the law relating to so-called "gig workers" and how their employment status should be regarded. As we have reported previously, in November last year, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) rejected app-based taxi firm Uber's appeal against the Employment Tribunal's (ET) earlier decision that its drivers should be categorised as workers rather than self-employed contractors.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to the Government informing it that in June it will be commencing the first of its gender pay gap investigations into employers who have failed to comply with their gender pay gap (GPG) reporting obligations. The announcement should not come as a surprise as the EHRC issued a warning prior to 4 April 2018 deadline that any companies which failed to comply with their reporting obligations could face enforcement action in the form of a fine or an investigation.
Under the GDPR the requirements for consent will be much stricter, particularly in the employment context, where it is generally accepted that the imbalance of power between the employer and employee is likely to invalidate any consent given by the employee.
The House of Commons Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees (the Committees) made recommendations in November 2017 for addressing the issues raised in the Taylor Review. These included:
The UK government's immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, has set out the government's commitment to support the "Windrush" generation. The "Windrush" generation is a reference to the ship, the Empire Windrush, that brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.
The Apprenticeship Levy has now been in force for a year. The government's aim in introducing the Levy was to reverse the decline in the use of apprenticeships by ring fencing funds which would be set aside in order to tackle skills shortages. One year on, has it worked?
We blogged in June last year about the employment tribunal claim of Ali -v- Capita Customer Management Ltd where Mr Ali was successful in his claim for direct sex discrimination. Female employees at Capita were entitled to 14 weeks’ full pay on maternity leave whereas fathers were only entitled to two weeks’ full pay on paternity and shared parental leave. Mr Ali's wife was advised to return to work early from maternity leave after being diagnosed with post natal depression. Mr Ali asked Capita whether he could take leave instead and was told he could take shared parental leave on statutory pay. The Tribunal found that this was direct sex discrimination.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have published new recommendations, 'turning the tables: ending sexual harassment at work', having found that existing obligations and guidance for employers are not protecting workers from sexual harassment. This article provides a brief overview of the ECHR objectives and highlights some of the more notable recommendations.
Master Trusts are a popular way for employers to meet their auto-enrolment obligations. They are basically pension schemes providing money purchase benefits to non-associated employers.
The process for signing up is usually simple with standardised documents for new joiners, although they can need a brief legal check and explanation given that they are trust deeds so you should know what you're agreeing to. Master Trusts follow a 'pensions as a service' model, like a group personal pension, but are regulated as an occupational pension scheme rather than a personal pension as they are trust based.
Recent high profile insolvencies (e.g. Carillion and BHS) have seen widespread criticism of the Pensions Regulator ("TPR"). It stands charged with failure to use its intervention powers despite being aware of companies prioritising dividends over deficit recovery contributions, despite trustees urging it to intervene. By the time TPR took action it was too late.
“Let me be very very clear: failing to report is breaking the law. We have the powers to enforce against companies who are in breach of these regulations. We take this enormously seriously. We have been very clear that we will be coming after 100% of companies that do not comply.”
In a written statement to Parliament earlier this week, Caroline Nokes (the Minister of State for Immigration) announced that the transitional restrictions on Croatian workers would not be extended and will come to an end on 30 June 2018. The significance of this is that Croatian citizens will now be able to seek work in the UK on the same basis as citizens from other EU member states.
The Women and Equalities Committee has published a report highlighting what it sees as the difficulties that fathers face in balancing their careers with childcare responsibilities. The report makes a series of proposals which aim to put men and women on a more equal footing when it comes to maternity and paternity leave. The most headline grabbing recommendation is that fathers should receive one month's leave at 90% of their salary (capped for higher earners) when their wife or partner has a baby and a further two months of paternity leave at £141 a week, without any loss of rights for the mother.
On 9 March 2018 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy named and shamed 179 employers for paying their staff below the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Restaurant chain Wagamama topped the list, but claimed that a misunderstanding as to how the NMW Regulations apply to staff uniforms was to blame.
The Court of Appeal has handed down its decision in Donelien v. Liberata UK Ltd (see here) and provided reassurance to employers that they can rely on occupation health advisers in deciding the question of disability. However, this is subject to employers making their own enquiries also.
Earlier this week, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy revealed that as little as around 2% of eligible couples are taking up their entitlement to Shared Parental Leave (SPL). At the same time, the government announced that it will spend £1.5 million on a campaign drive which will be known as "Share the Joy". The campaign will focus on raising the profile of SPL with a lack of awareness of SPL amongst eligible parents having been identified as a significant factor in the particularly low levels of up-take.
Two stories have made the headlines today, and both relate to stretched resources. The stories look at preparing the UK immigration system for after Brexit, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) enforcing employers to publish gender pay gap information.
The latest report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has highlighted the prevalence of part-time working among women, and particularly mothers, as contributing significantly to the gender pay gap, which although down from 30 per cent from the early 90s still stands at around 20 per cent.
According to new research carried out by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports, less than half of all UK businesses and charities are aware of the changes to UK data protection law under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will come into force on 25 May 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A steady trickle of gender pay gap reports are now being published as 2017 draws to a close, leaving just over three months until the 5 April 2018 deadline for publication. However, analysis by the Financial Times suggests not all of the published results are accurate. Meanwhile, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has published a toolkit to assist employers in calculating and publishing their gender pay gap data and then taking action to remove any gap.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was asked by the UK government to advise on the economic and social impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) and also on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.
As you will no doubt have seen in the news, progress has been made in phase one of the Brexit negotiations. We have prepared a summary of the position on citizens' rights; whilst it has been stressed that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed", the lie of the land is starting to look a little clearer for those EEA nationals who are already in the UK.
WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc have been found vicariously liable for a data protection breach after an employee bearing a grudge deliberately published personal details of 100,000 of its employees on the internet.
In the recent case of Galilee v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis the EAT held that the doctrine of 'relation back', whereby amendments take effect from the date of the original document which it amended, does not apply in the tribunal.
Headlines on dress codes are becoming more frequent and certainly catch the eye with the BBC's "Can an employer demand that you go to work naked?" being no exception! The question raises a fair point – to what extent can employers dictate what its workforce wear to work?
In King v. Sash Windows, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that anyone deemed to have "worker" status is entitled to carry over paid annual holiday in circumstances where they have not had the opportunity to take it.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in the recent case of Graham v. Agilitas IT Solutions Ltd. (Agilitas), ruled that an employer cannot rely on parts of a without prejudice conversation held in accordance with s.111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) and/or the "common law" without prejudice rule, whilst at the same time seeking to use the without prejudice rule as a shield in reference to that same conversation. S.111A of the ERA permits discussions between an employer and an employee with a view to terminating employment on agreed terms to remain confidential and inadmissible in proceedings before a tribunal for unfair dismissal.
The Office for National Statistics published data this week that shows London as a region has the widest gender pay gap in the UK. Currently, women working full-time in London earn 14.6 per cent less than their male colleagues. In the past twenty years the gap has narrowed only slightly from 15.1 per cent. In contrast, during this same period the pay gap in Wales and Scotland has gone from 17.5 per cent and 18.4 per cent to 6.3 per cent and 6.6. per cent respectively.
Workers aged over 25 will receive an inflation-busting increase of 33p an hour in their national minimum wage. An above-inflation pay rise of 4.4 per cent starting April 2018 is over the 3 per cent rate of inflation which is in place at the moment. Following this, full-time workers will receive a £600 annual increase.
The Times newspaper has revealed plans by Scottish ministers to pave the way for a bespoke immigration system.
Scottish ministers are concerned that Brexit will lead to a fall in immigrant workers, who are vital to the Scottish economy. Alasdair Allan, the Scottish government's Europe minister, raised this as an issue to the Europe Committee earlier in 2017. He said: "The Scottish government will continue to call for a less restrictive and more humane system from the UK which recognises individual and demographic circumstances."
In the recent case of Ypourgos Ethnikis Pedias kai Thriskevmaton v. Kalliri, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that the requirement for candidates for the Greek police academy to be at least 170cm tall amounted to indirect sex discrimination which could not be objectively justified.
In the recent case of Benkharbouche v. Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs & Anor the Supreme Court agreed with the EAT and the Court of Appeal and unanimously held that sections 4(2)(b) and 16(1)(a) of the State Immunity Act 1978 (SIA) cannot protect embassies from Employment Tribunal claims brought by domestic staff in the UK.
In the recent case of HMCI v. The Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court's finding that a school's complete gender segregation of pupils from year five onwards was not direct sex discrimination.
The EU and UK have concluded their fifth round of negotiations.
Progress has been made on coming to an agreement in relation to the rights of EU citizens living in the UK. Some points are still to be negotiated.
The 1% cap on public sector pay rises in England and Wales (which came into force in 2010) is to be lifted. The first professions to benefit will be police officers and prison officers. The government has announced that for the 2017/2018 FY police officers will receive a 1% pay rise plus a 1% bonus and prison officers will get a 1.7% rise, both of which will be funded from existing departmental budgets.
On 7 September 2017 the government published a factsheet on the impact of the Repeal Bill, which was recently passed by a majority of MPs, and the future status of workers' rights following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
As you may have seen, People Management recently published an article on some of the big developments in employment law in 2017, particularly Brexit and the Taylor review. In the lead up to triggering Article 50, the government maintained that there would not be any change to workers' rights following Brexit, so it would be brave to take away key protections, many of which derive from UK law anyway. Other commentators suggested there may be reforms to TUPE, although agreed that it will stay, but perhaps in a slightly amended form. As for a new visa regime for workers, the outcome is unclear. The uncertainty has already caused many workers to leave at a time where we are beginning to see a shortage of labour. This has not been helped by the recent leaked Home Office post-Brexit Immigration Policy which has confirmed the fears of employers with respect to the future of EU workers in the UK.
As many of you will have seen, the Home Office's draft Post-Brexit Immigration Policy was leaked this week, and has since become a topic of much interest.
The document has caused concern among many employers, as the stricter controls being proposed on EU immigration could lead to a significant shortage of labour in the UK, which could be hugely damaging to the economy. EU nationals currently comprise around 7% of the overall workforce in UK, with certain sectors almost entirely dependant on their contribution.
Following a recent consultation, the President of the Employment Tribunals has announced a rise in the compensation that employees can recover for 'injury to feelings', in the event that they suffer from discrimination in the workplace.
The EAT upheld the previous Tribunal ruling that female employees who work in Asda's retail stores are entitled to compare their work to that of the higher paid male employees that work in its distribution centres. The EAT agreed that the value of work between these two groups of staff is of equal value and, therefore, that their pay should be comparable.
The EU's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will apply in the UK from 25 May next year. With increasingly tighter requirements around how employers must maintain and process personal data, and with the number of fines issued for breaches of UK data protection laws on the increase, many employers are already looking to employ permanent staff dedicated to ensure compliance with the new rules.
In the recent case of Agoreyo v. London Borough of Lambeth  EWHC 2019 (QB), the High Court has held that suspension as a "knee-jerk" reaction to an allegation of misconduct may in itself be sufficient to breach the implied contractual term of trust and confidence.
Pimlico Plumbers has now been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The decision reached by the Supreme Court will be significant as the highest authority on the employment status of purportedly self-employed contractors. It is likely to have implications for the so-called "gig economy".