2019 Employment Law – What’s Coming Up This Year?

Legal | Sponsored
Gareth Edwards

We welcome 2019 with some of the expected developments in Employment law this year:

Brexit

It is unlikely that we will see any practical legislative change to Employment law arising out of the Brexit process this year. Longer term, new EU case law will remain influential in the British Courts although the interpretation of particular laws may diverge over time.

Pay Gap Reporting

  • Gender Pay Gap – The second gender pay snapshot will take place on 5 April (31 March for public/charitable sector), with the deadline on either 30 March or 4 April 2020.
  • Executive Pay Gap – UK quoted companies with more than 250 employees will have to report on ratios between the CEO and employees’ pay and benefits with the first reporting starting in 2020.
  • Ethnicity Pay Reporting – The government is consulting on introducing a further pay reporting scheme for ethnicity. Although unlikely to come into force in 2019, it is likely to generate discussion this year.

The Good Work Plan

The government’s Good Work Plan proposes eight key changes to Employment law:

  1. A new employment status test.
  2. A right for workers to request a fixed working pattern.
  3. Employers will be required to provide employees and workers with a written statement of terms and conditions on the first day of work (rather than within two months).
  4. The break in continuity of employment will be increased from one week to four weeks.
  5. For calculating a week’s pay, the reference period for variable pay will increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
  6. All agency workers will have the right to pay parity after 12 weeks.
  7. The threshold for employees to set up information and consultation arrangements will be lowered to 2% of employees, subject to the existing minimum of 15 employees.
  8. A ban on employers making staff tips’ deductions.

#MeToo

The government has expedited a review into the use of non-disclosure agreements in the workplace due to the concern that harassment and bullying has been covered up by so-called ‘gagging clauses’, and will also be consulting this year on a mandatory duty to protect workers from sexual harassment, third-party harassment and the protection of interns and volunteers.

Employment Tribunal Fees

The government has suggested that it may reintroduce Employment Tribunal fees but there are no firm plans published as yet.

Key Upcoming Cases

  • Brazel v Harpur Trust – Term Time Holiday Pay – the Court of Appeal will consider how such holiday pay should be calculated. The case has implications for casual and zero hour staff across many sectors.
  • Mrs Tomlinson-Blake v Royal Mencap Society – National Minimum Wage and Sleep-ins – Unison has sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. If successful, the case is likely to be heard this year.
  • Uber case – Gig Economy Worker Status – the Supreme Court will make a judgment this year.

Gareth Edwards is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV.  Gareth can be contacted on 0117 314 5220 or at gedwards@vwv.co.uk.

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