The government has recently published its Good Work Plan, which sets out the legal changes it will make to protect (mainly) vulnerable workers.
- A “day one” right for employees and workers to receive written details of their terms and rights of employment
- The right for casual staff and zero hours workers to request a stable contract from their employer
- Ignoring breaks of up to four weeks for the purposes of establishing a worker’s length of continuous service
- Streamlining the employment status tests so they are the same for employment and tax purposes
- Abolishing Swedish Derogation contracts
- Changing the reference period for calculating holiday pay from 12 to 52 weeks.
The problem with online employment judgments
A feature of the employment tribunal system, often overlooked by both sides, is the publication of tribunal judgments online. Since February 2017, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service has published all tribunal judgments and written reasons via the online public Register.
A simple Google search of the surname of the claimant and the name of the respondent will bring up the relevant publication(s) and the decision and reasons for it are there for all to see.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal in Miss Y Ameyaw v Pricewaterhousecoopers Services Ltd has made it clear that the importance of “open justice” overrides the privacy concerns of those involved in the proceedings.
Number of employment tribunal claims increases again
The Ministry of Justice has published the employment tribunal quarterly statistics for the period July to September 2018. During this period the number of single claims issued increased by 13% compared to the same quarter of 2017.
Employment Tribunal fees were abolished on 26 July 2017 and, since then, there has been a significant increase in the numbers of claims submitted. As these figures include the month of July 2017 (when fees were still in place) we’ll have to wait for the next set of quarterly statistics to see if claims continue to rise year-on-year.
Government responds to Women and Equalities Select Committee report on sexual harassment in the workplace
The government has announced 12 broad action points in response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s report on sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Introducing a statutory Code of Practice on sexual harassment that employers must follow
- Consulting on how to protect staff from third party harassment where the employer knows staff are at risk
- Extending protection against harassment to volunteers and interns
- Working with Acas, the EHRC and employers to raise awareness of appropriate workplace behaviours and individual rights
- Considering regulating the use of non-disclosure agreements to prevent abuse.
There are no firm timescales for any of the announced measures and further consultations will take place.
Only one in five organisations has a plan to fix their gender pay gap
A report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Closing the Gender Pay Gap, has revealed significant shortcomings of the gender pay gap reporting regime. Analysing 440 gender pay gap reports from a variety of sectors, the EHRC found that only around 20% of employers had produced an identifiable action plan in their gender pay gap report that was time-bound and included target-driven activities. The report provides guidance to help organisations reduce the gap and set measurable targets.
New guide from Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on Data Protection
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published a Guide to Data Protection which covers the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation. It is split into five main sections:
- Introduction to data protection
- Guide to GDPR
- Guide to Law Enforcement processing
- Guide to Intelligence Services processing
- Key data protection themes.