The summer may now have gone but it
was an active period for employment law news. Below we look back at
some of the happenings to ensure you remain aware of developments
that could impact on your business going forward.
It was reported in July 2016 that
the food delivery firm, Deliveroo, had added restrictions in the
contracts with their "self-employed" drivers in an
attempt to avoid them arguing that they are either
"employees" or "workers".
This is because employees and
workers have far more employment rights compared to self-employed
individuals, such as the right to be paid at least the national
The restriction read "You
further warrant that neither you nor anyone acting on your behalf
will present any claim in the employment tribunal or any civil
court in which it is contended that you are either an employee or a
Such a provision is unlikely to
work in practice and will potentially upset employment relations so
think twice before trying to place similar restrictions on your
Debate has raged as to whether the
introduction of the living wage back in April 2016 (namely a
minimum rate of £7.20 per hour for those aged 25 or over) has
meant that employers have reduced the number of staff they engage
or the level of benefits offered to employees.
However, a survey in July 2016 by
Resolution Foundation has suggested that the additional pay is
either being passed on to customers in the form of increased prices
or the employer is simply making less profit themselves.
Currently, an employer is able to
make an ex-gratia payment of up to £30,000 on termination of
an employee's employment without deductions for tax or national
After that, income tax applies but
not NI contributions.
It was announced in August 2016
that these rules will be revised with effect from April 2018 so
both tax and employer's NI will become payable.
This will make things more
expensive for employers.
Gender pay gap reporting
New legislation on gender pay
reporting was brought into force in August 2016, although the final
parts of the new legislation are not expected until October.
It is understood that employers
250 or more employees will become
compelled to analyse gender pay gap data (being the difference in
levels of pay between men and women at the same employer) and
publish their results.
It is expected that the first
analysis will be required as at 30 April 2017 and the first report
will need to be published a year later.
However, savvy employers will want
to consider their analysis early and take steps to ensure any pay
gaps are equalised or can be explained, before they have to expose
the data and run the risk of potential equal pay claims being
brought by disgruntled employees.
No new round up would be complete
without a mention about Brexit.
We all await details on when and
how Britain will exit Europe but certainly some changes to
employment law are likely in the long term.
There has already been some
speculation about changes being made to the rules on working time,
the transfer of businesses (often known as TUPE transfers) and the
rights of agency workers.
However, laws relating to
discrimination and unfair dismissal are perhaps unlikely to be
amended. No one knows what the future may hold but employers will
want to keep an eye on developments in this area.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Goodman Derrick's employment team will be hosting a workshop on HR horrors and how to deal with them. This practical session, on Wednesday 10 May 2017, will use case studies to deal with some of the tricky HR situations often faced by employers.
In SSE Generation Limited v Hochtief Solutions AG and another decided on 21st December 2016, the Court of Session in Scotland considered a contractor's potential design liability under the NEC Form of Contract.
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