UK Budget 2018: Employment

The Chancellor has delivered the 2018 UK Budget. Whilst the number of employment tax related announcements were limited there were some significant changes proposed, most notably in relation to off-payroll working arrangements in the private sector. Set out below is a summary of the key announcements.   Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector As widely anticipated following its consultation earlier this year, the Government has announced that it will be reforming the off-payroll working rules (commonly known as “IR35”) in the private sector to increase compliance and bring them into line with changes made for public sector engagements in April …

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Government consultation on mandatory ethnicity pay reporting

A consultation has been launched asking employers to contribute their views on  implementing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting. It sets out options and asks questions on what ethnicity pay information should be reported by employers to allow for meaningful action,  who should be expected to report, and the next steps to be taken. In previous discussions, the Government stated that it preferred voluntary, business led ethnicity reporting, but given the small number of employers reporting and the different methodologies that have been adopted, it now believes that it is necessary to implement mandatory reporting. What ethnicity information should be reported? The …

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Supreme Court rules that it was not unlawful discrimination for a bakery to refuse to supply a cake supportive of gay marriage.

In an important case which has highlighted the difficulties which can arise when balancing the rights of individuals with different protected characteristics, the Supreme Court has held in Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and ors,  that it is not unlawful discrimination, either on grounds of sexual orientation or political opinion, for a bakery to refuse to supply a cake iced with the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’.  The bakery owners held religious beliefs that gay marriage is inconsistent with Biblical teaching and therefore unacceptable to God.  The Supreme Court’s decision has overturned both the Northern Ireland County Court and Court …

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Supreme Court decides “self-employed” plumber has worker status

Employment status remains one of the hottest topics in employment law this year. The Supreme Court has added to the debate today, handing down judgment in Pimlico Plumbers Ltd v Smith. The Supreme Court unanimously held that a plumber who was engaged as a “self-employed operative”  should in fact have been treated as a “worker” for employment rights purposes. Facts Smith worked as a plumber for Pimlico Plumbers Limited (Pimlico) for around 6 years. He was labelled as a “self-employed operative” and described in documentation as an independent contractor, in business on his own account.    Under the arrangements between the …

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Disparate pay for maternity and shared parental leave may be indirect discrimination

Following the EAT’s recent ruling, in Capita Customer Management Limited v Ali, that a father who wished to take shared parental leave was not directly discriminated against in not being entitled to the higher maternity pay rate which the employer paid to employees taking maternity leave, the EAT has handed down judgment in Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police.  The appeal in this case related to indirect discrimination, and provides a useful contrast to the previous judgment on direct discrimination. In Hextall, the Respondent Police Force’s maternity, paternity and shared parental leave policies were such that the only option …

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Less than one month to go until GDPR: Are you ready?

The countdown is on to the implementation of the GDPR on 25 May 2018. With less than one month to go, many employers will be finalising their preparation for the changes the new law will bring to data protection in the workplace. For those employers finalising their preparations, it may be time to check in to ensure that you remain on track and on target.  But for those organisations who are only just turning their minds to GDPR, what are the next steps? Compliance might appear a daunting task for organisations, but it is not too late to begin to …

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Employers do not discriminate by paying more for maternity leave than shared parental leave

The EAT has confirmed in Capita Customer Management Limited v Ali that a father who wished to take shared parental leave was not directly discriminated against in not being entitled to the higher maternity pay rate which the employer paid to employees taking maternity leave. Capita’s maternity, paternity and shared parental leave policies applying to employees who had transferred from Telefonica entitled female employees to 14 weeks basic pay followed by 25 weeks of statutory maternity pay when taking maternity leave. When Mr Ali’s daughter was born in February 2016 he was entitled to and took 2 weeks’ paternity leave …

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EHRC confirms enforcement action will be taken against employers who fail to publish gender pay gap reports

With one week to go until the deadline for employers of 250 or more employees to report their gender pay gap information, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has confirmed that it will take enforcement action against any employers who fail to report on time. In a statement on 26 March 2018, the EHRC has said it will implement the first stage of its enforcement processes by sending a letter on 9 April 2018 to employers who have failed to report their gender pay gap information.  These employers will have 28 days to comply, or else face the next …

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Holiday and casual workers: the 12.07% formula challenged

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) casts doubt on the practice of employers fulfilling their obligations to allow paid annual leave to casual workers by providing for holiday accrual at the rate of 12.07% of hours worked. Facts Brazel was a part-time music teacher, retained on a zero hours contract.    She worked mostly during term-time and her hours fluctuated weekly.  She had a contractual right to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday, mirroring her statutory right,  and she was required to take holiday during school holidays. By way of holiday pay, Brazel was paid 12.07% of the actual hours worked …

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Government publishes response to Taylor Review and four consultation papers

The Government has today published ‘Good Work’, its response to the Taylor Review which investigated what impact modern working practices are having on the world of work. The Taylor Review published its report in July 2017 and made wide-ranging recommendations regarding reforms of the law on agency work, paid holiday, sick pay, flexible working and employee representation. The review found that the strength of the UK’s labour market is built on flexibility but that a clearer focus is needed on quality of work as well as the quantity of jobs. The Government says that it will take forward all but …

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April 2018 tax reforms will impact on employers making termination payments

Employers who are planning to make termination payments to departing employees on or after 6 April 2018 need to be aware of important reforms which will take effect on 6 April 2018. The key point for employers to note is that the value of all notice periods not worked will become taxable and subject to both employer and employee National Insurance Contributions (NICs), regardless of whether there is a contractual payment in lieu of notice (PILON) clause, or not.  This is a critical change to the existing position, where currently the value of a notice period can generally be paid …

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Gender Pay Reporting Regulations: Are you ready?

In 10 weeks’ time, the deadline for gender pay gap reporting for every employer with  250 or more employees will be here.  The Government estimates that around 9,000 employers will be required to report and, to date, less than 700 have done so – in the region of 7.5%. So if you haven’t completed and published your report, where do you sit on the readiness curve? If you haven’t completed and published your report, are you ready and waiting; do you still have lots to do; or have you actually yet to make a start?  Wherever you sit on the …

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Review of the year and look forward to 2018

In this Be Aware review of the year, we highlight the most important legislative and case law developments from 2017 and identify the key developments to watch out for in 2018. 2017: The year in review Legislation   Apprenticeship levy: Finance Act 2016, Income Tax (Pay As You Earn (Amendment) Regulations 2017 The apprenticeship levy became payable with effect from 6 April 2017 and is payable by employers through PAYE.   Read more in our Be Aware alert. Immigration: Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 The Regulations introduced a charge which is payable by sponsors from 6 April 2017 in respect …

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CAC rejects novel collective bargaining application in respect of outsourced workers

The Central Arbitration Committee has rejected a novel claim that outsourced workers employed to provide ancillary services at a university should be entitled to bargain collectively with the university as their “de facto” employer. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) sought statutory recognition against both Cordant Security and the University of London under Schedule A1 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA) in respect of workers employed by Cordant to provide services to the University. The IWGB’s application in respect of Cordant failed as there was an existing recognition agreement between Cordant and Unison …

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Be Aware: EHRC consults on its approach to enforcement of gender pay reporting regulations

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a draft policy paper setting out the approach it intends to take in using its enforcement powers in respect of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 (GPGR). The EHRC is consulting on the draft policy and wants to hear from businesses, representative bodies and anyone with an interest in pay gaps on its planned approach to enforcement. The consultation closes on 2 February 2018. A recap – What do the GPGR require? All private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees in England, Wales and …

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