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Employment law developments to prepare for in 2019

30 January 2019 #Other

Brexit

Back in August 2018, the government published its report on “Workplace Rights If There's No Brexit Deal”, which is looking ever more likely, the closer we get to 29 March.  The report essentially confirms that UK workers will still be entitled to their employment law rights that derive from EU legislation in the event of a no deal.

This is meant to give us some confidence.  However, there is no doubt that the months ahead will be challenging for employers. To read some of our specific blogs on how Brexit is expected to impact immigration and recruitment of the future UK workforce for example, click on the relevant topic links.

Payslips

On the 6th April 2019 employers must provide payslips to all ‘workers’ not just ‘employees’ as currently. Payslips must contain the individuals’ earnings before and after deductions as well as the specific amounts of each deduction. After April, employers will also be obliged to stipulate the number of hours that an individual has worked over the period for staff that are paid hourly, according to ‘time worked’.

Sleep-in pay

In 2018, the Court of Appeal in Mencap v Tomlinson Blake, ruled that individuals working on sleep-in shifts, were only entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage for the time that they were actually awake and available to work as opposed to when they were asleep and not actually working.

Later this year the Supreme Court will decide whether the Court of Appeal were correct in their judgement. This decision is hotly anticipated as it affects the pay of thousands of workers across the UK, particularly in the care sector, who carry out sleep-in shifts.

Pension auto enrolment contributions

The minimum contributions for both employers and employees for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase in April 2019. Currently, the minimum employee contribution is 2% of their pre-tax salary with the employer obliged to contribute 3%. From April these contributions will increase to 3% and 5% respectively.

An adequate time of consultation should take place with staff prior to the changes so Employers should start thinking about this soon.   

GDPR full steam ahead

Just last week, Google was hit with a 50 million euro fine for unlawfully processing user data for personalisation of its advertising. This fine is significant as it is the first time that the higher penalty (being one of the biggest changes brought in by the GDPR) has been applied. 

Under old data protection laws, the maximum potential fine for breaches was £500,000. Now, employers could be fined up to 20 million euros or 4% of global annual turnover (whichever is greater). The Google case should be a wake up call for organisations who may not yet be fully compliant with the new law and is also suggestive of how seriously breaches will be treated over the coming year.

Ethnicity pay gap reporting

To follow the introduction of CEO pay gap reporting earlier this month, consultation has recently concluded following the government’s proposal to introduce ethnicity pay gap reporting; which is expected to become a legal requirement for employers to publish as well.

This is hoped to oust the disparities in the pay and progression of employees from black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds when compared to their white colleagues and expose unjustified discrimination in organisations.

#MeToo and the use of NDA’s

The use of non-disclosure agreements (also known as gagging agreements) in employment situations is being reviewed by the government this year due to concerns over their ability to prevent victims of harassment and discrimination coming forward. NDA’s are still legal but in the wake of the current #MeToo climate, changes to how they can be used in employment situations is expected.

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking professional and legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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Georgia Roberts

Georgia Roberts
Solicitor

E: GRoberts@clarkslegal.com
T: 0118 960 4655
M: 07884 188 976