26 January, 2018
With the new year already under way and 2017 having rapidly come and gone, we provide employers with an outline of key issues they should note and take steps to prepare for this year.
If 2017 was a busy year for employers, 2018 is expected to be even busier.
So, what do you need to know (that you may not know already) or bear in mind as an employer?
1. The Taylor Review - Zero hours
The Government stated in the Autumn Budget that it intends to publish a discussion paper as part of its response to the Taylor review, which will explore the case and options for longer-term reform to make employment status tests for both employment rights and tax clearer.
The review noted that too many employers are still relying on zero hours contracts and recommended a higher rate of National Minimum Wage for hours not guaranteed by an individual's contract. The review also stated that zero hours workers should have the right to request a contract with guaranteed hours after 12 months.
Action: Keep in mind the Government's response to the Taylor review recommendations, both in budget planning and in what capacity you are hiring staff
2. Brexit - haven't we left yet?
Having been confirmed that the ECJ will no longer be part of the UK judicial system, the UK courts will now have full control over interpretation of legislation. That said, there's still much uncertainty surrounding the impact Brexit will have on employment law.
Action: Employers should keep up to date with developments, particularly on the rights of EU workers to remain and work in the UK and equally those British nationals you have working in the EU. Seek legal advice where appropriate.
3. ET Fees - Refunds
The Refund Scheme for fees was rolled out in November to those who applied for a refund in respect of a tribunal claim, since they were first introduced in July 2013. An application for a refund can be completed online or by completing the relevant tribunal fees form.
Although the Tribunal Fees Order is now quashed, the prospect of introducing a new fees regime has not been entirely ruled out. However, this seems unlikely to happen in the near future as the government has more pressing issues, such as Brexit, to focus on.
Action: Employers should anticipate any potential claims which could be brought by employees, both present and former, and seek legal advice in advance where appropriate.
4. Caste discrimination - Consultation
On 2 September 2016, the Government announced that it would be proceeding with a full consultation on caste discrimination. The consultation was published by the Government Equalities Office on 28 March 2017 and proposed two options:
(a) making an order of the Equality Act 2010 to cover caste as an aspect of race discrimination;
(b) allowing case law to develop naturally.
The consultation closed on 18 September 2017 and we are awaiting a response from the Government.
Action: Keep up to date with any developments
The 2017 Regulations will apply from 25 May 2018 to all controllers and processors of personal data. As employers evidently fall within this remit of legal responsibility, it is strongly advised that you understand the impact of these Regulations and how it will significantly affect the way in which you hold and process personal data moving forward.
Suffice to say, the Regulations are quite complex so employers should obtain the necessary advice to ensure they comply with its requirements and avoid huge cost sanctions.
Action: Seek appropriate legal advice and if you haven't taken steps already, thoroughly review relevant policies and procedures.
As the above isn't an exhaustive list, employers should remain vigilant of other potential legal challenges they could face and take appropriate action to ensure a smooth, prosperous year.
If you are looking for any more information with regards to this or our services please view our Employment & HR section. You can also contact our Employment and HR department via email or phone on 03332 071135. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.