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Employment law in the news

First up this month is the press coverage of John Lewis having to revise 2016/17 profits by £36 million to allow for back payments to staff following a breach of the National Minimum Wage Regulations.

According to the company the breach is technical rather than actual in most cases. It arose because staff pay was averaged over the year.  That meant that the majority of staff did get paid what they were due but because over some months unexpectedly high amounts of over time was worked their take home pay did not meet the national minimum wage. In particular, employers who pay a flat monthly rate of pay which is close to the national wage limit should consider whether they require to change their working practices.

In amongst the political parties' manifestos the CIPD launched one of their own in May with the press picking up on the Government being urged to make "good work" a priority.

Included in the Manifesto for Work are calls for:-

  • A new voluntary target for 20% of FTSE 350 board-level executive directors to be women by 2020, with a view to achieving equal gender representation on boards by 2030;
  • Legislation to allow workers on zero hour contracts to request a minimum number of hours after 12 months of employment;
  • Voluntary human capital reporting standards to encourage more publicly listed companies to disclose how they manage their workforce;
  • A full consultation on the impact of employment tribunal fees to ensure all workers have access to justice.

Good news for more mature workers this month.  In response to a call from the UK Governments Champion for Older Workers Andy Briggs, Aviva, Barclays, Atos and five other firms have agreed to promote their employment of the over 50's by publishing data about the age of the workforce.  The move follows a warning from Mr Briggs that by 2022 there will be 14.5 million more jobs but only 7 million young workers.

Are office aesthetics important?  It appears so with the news that a survey of over 1000 workers found that outdated décor would put off 41% of job seekers while 38% would be put off by a lack of natural lighting.  However, not surprisingly, lack of transport links, places to eat and other amenities was the most off-putting factor for potential job applicants with 50% of those surveyed saying that would deter them from accepting a job.

And finally, a number of media sources appeared to think President Trump needed some guidance when it came to firing James Comey publishing top tips for sacking someone in the wake of the high profile firing.