Employment law updates
2018 was a busy year in the world of Employment Law. Among the legal headlines were the removal of employment fees and the beginning of what was to become a national consultation on the pay gap between men and women.
However, the changes aren't over for employers and HR professionals: with March 29th 2019 signalling the UK's separation from the EU, 2018 was a year of significant change, particularly where Employment Law is concerned. Let's take a look at the main events that took place;
Marking the end of the old financial year and the start of the new, it seemed appropriate that the topic of tax took the spotlight this month. April saw the government making changes to the way termination payments are taxed, including safeguarding the first £30,000 against income tax and National Insurance contributions. This was also the month in which the first reports detailing the pay gap between the sexes was be submitted.
April also heralded the withdrawal of Employment Allowance for a year from any employers who are found to have employed illegal workers.
In addition, the Fit for Work assessment service was scrapped at the end of March, as well as overhauling its current fit note scheme
The big one for May was the government rolling out the EU-approved General Data Protection Regulation laws. Among the many new protocols the right for individuals to be informed if their data has been compromised and the right for them to have their information deleted from search engines.
This is the month in which the EU's Trade Secrets Directive came into play, giving greater protection to Intellectual Property Rights. For businesses and individuals, this will mean greater recourse in the event that trade secrets are misappropriated, especially by a member of staff.
Other Key Events in 2018
If you're an employer or an HR professional, these other key events are worth noting;
A hot topic since Parental Leave was introduced in 2015, Grandparental Leave will see parents able to assign part of their maternity or family leave to grandparents, allowing them to return to work more quickly. In addition, the move is hoped to encourage grandparents to remain in work, rather than having to leave their jobs in order to help their children with childcare.
Payment for Sleep-In Shifts
Now we are at the end of 2018, the clock will be ticking fast for employers who have not yet chased up their obligations to the Social Care Compliance Scheme. Launched in 2017, the scheme gave employers until 2019 to identify and pay what they owe to workers who may have been paid less than the minimum wage for sleep-in shifts. Once the deadline has expired, employers will have three months in which to make the outstanding payments, or face legal action.
Although this doesn't come into effect until the third month of 2019, employers will be watching the continued negotiations regarding Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. While the Settled Status agreement seems to have gained some ground, the main issue for employers is likely to be how the legislation for immigrant workers will change.
The anticipated date for review of the rules will be in 2021, which gives businesses three years in which to begin recruiting and try and stay ahead of the constantly-shifting Brexit sands.
Steven Judge is an Employment Solicitor and Head of the Dispute Resolution Team, he can be contacted on 01323 434416 or by email on email@example.com