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Employment law: What’s new for 2018?

Legal Question Time with Gardner Leader

Employment law: What’s new for 2018?

Julie Taylor, Senior Associate, Employment Team, Gardner Leader LLP

Julie Taylor, senior associate at Gardner Leader Solicitors in Newbury, summarises the key developments in employment law expected this year:

i) The EU General Data Protection Regulations

The GDPR comes into force on May 25, 2018, and imposes new rules regarding the processing of personal data, particularly for consent, transparency and access rights.

Ensure your business is ready by carrying out an audit of your data and reviewing the guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

ii) The Gig economy

In early February, the Government responded to the recommendations made by the Taylor Review published last summer which examined and consulted on modern working practices.

The response announced the launch of four further consultations for employment status, agency workers, enforcement of employment rights and transparency within the labour market.

The response also highlighted that a number of the Taylor Review recommendations would be taken forward.

These include:

  • Plans to develop a new online tool to help determine employment status;
  • The right to a written statement of terms to be extended to all workers and the introduction of a right to request a “more predictable” contract for zero hours and agency workers;
  • Extension of the pay reference period (used to calculate average earnings for holiday pay) to be extended from 12 to 52 weeks;
  • Plans to promote genuine flexibility in the workplace;
  • Review and update of the on-line pregnancy and maternity guidance;
  • Increasing the penalties employment tribunals can issue against employers who breach employment law from £5,000 to £20,000.

However, the number of cases disputing the employment status of contractors over recent years mean that this remains an uncertain area of law and we will have to wait and see what changes are implemented.

iii) Gender pay gap reporting

The deadline is looming for companies with 250 or more employees as they must publish information regarding their gender pay gap by April 4, 2018, and public sector employers must comply by March 30, 2018.

There is a dedicated website (https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/Viewing/ search-results) which is collating the data provided and currently has published details for more than 900 companies.

The companies have to publish information showing:

a) Average gender pay gap as a mean (total divided by number of employees) average and as a median (the mid-point) average

b) Average bonus gender pay gap as a mean and median average

c) Proportion of males receiving a bonus payment and proportion of females receiving a bonus payment

d) Proportion of males and females when divided into four groups ordered from lowest to highest pay

So far the information suggests we are a long way from removing the gender pay gap and it will be interesting to see whether any further action is proposed once all data has been published.

iv) Brexit

The negotiations continue and the position remains changeable. However, it is still expected that many of the current employment rights will remain unchanged.

v) Minimum wage

The minimum wage should increase from April 1, 2018, and the expected increases are:

  • For workers 25 years: £7.83 (from £7.50)
  • For workers aged 21-24 years: £7.38 (from £7.05)
  • For workers between 18-20 years: £5.90 (from £5.60)
  • For workers under 18: £4.20 (from £4.05)

If you have any questions regarding the contents of this article, please contact our dedicated employment team on 01635 508181.

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