Gig economy and Taylor Review
The Government's response to the Taylor Review and joint Work and Pensions and BEIS Select Committees report (the latter of which included proposed draft legislation) is expected in the first half of 2018.
FROM APRIL 2018
The annual Employment Tribunal award limit changes will take effect on 6 April 2018. The limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £80,541 to £83,682.
The cap on the compensatory award is the lower of the maximum or 52 weeks' pay (based on the Claimant's gross salary prior to dismissal including employer pension contribution but excluding benefits in kind and discretionary bonus). As always there are a limited number of dismissals - including for whistleblowing, certain health and safety reasons and discrimination - where the cap does not apply.
The limit on a week's pay (used for calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal) will increase from £489 to £508 meaning the maximum basic award increases to £15,240.
As of 1 April statutory maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental pay and maternity allowance is to be increased from £140.98 to £145.18 a week.
As from 6 April statutory sick pay is to be increased from £89.35 to £92.05 per week.
Taxation of Termination Payments
The first stage of the UK Government's proposed simplification of the taxation of termination payments is expected to be implemented in April 2018 meaning all payments in lieu of notice (PILON) will be taxable irrespective of whether they are contractual or not. According to the February HMRC Employer Bulletin, this change will apply to payments received on or after 6 April 2018 in circumstance where the employment also terminates on or after 6 April 2018. Although it was initially thought that the requirement for employers to pay NIC's on all payments above the £30,000 threshold (for non-contractual termination payments) would also be implemented this year that is now to take effect in April 2019. There are no plans to change the unlimited employee NIC exemption on such non-contractual termination payments and, other than for PILON's, the £30,000 exemption for income tax on non-contractual termination payments also remains.
National Living/Minimum Wage
The NLW is to increase from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour while the NMW will increase as follows -
- 21 to 24 year old rate from £7.05 to £7.38 per hour
- 18 to 20 year old rate from £5.60 to £5.90 per hour
- 16 to 17 year old rate from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour
- Apprentice rate from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
4 April sees the first deadline for gender pay gap reports to be published. Expect headlines with detailed dissections of the figures published by high profile organisations.
Pension Auto Enrolment
The minimum contribution to pensions under automatic enrolment will increase from the current 2% of earnings to 5% (2% from the employer, 2.4% from the worker and 0.6% as tax relief from the government). This amount will rise again in April 2019 to 8% of earnings (3% from the employer, 4% from the worker and 1% as tax relief).
General Data Protection Regulation
Data Protection Bill 2017
The Bill will replace the Data Protection Act 1998 and implement the GDPR when it comes into force on 25 May 2018.
OCTOBER 2018 AND BEYOND
Parental Bereavement Bill
The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill entitles parents who have lost a child under the age of 18 to have 2 weeks bereavement leave, and for those with the necessary qualifying service, paid leave. Although it was introduced into Parliament in 2017 reports suggest it will not become law until 2020.
In consequence of the Employment Rights act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement)(Amendment) Order 2018 from 1 April 2019 all payslips must state the number of hours being paid where wages vary according to time worked. This should make it easier for workers to check they are being paid correctly.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO…..?
Public Sector Exit Payment Regulations and Repayment of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations
Both these pieces of legislation were expected to come into force in 2016. One provides for the capping of payments made to public sector employees on termination of employment and the other for repayment of those payments should certain public sector employees return to a role within the public sector within a short period of time after termination of an earlier role. Firm implementation dates for these provisions have not yet been announced.
Shared (Grand) Parental Leave
The Government announced plans to extend Shared Parental Leave (SPL) to include grandparents in late 2015. The Government’s original stated aim was to introduce this during 2018, although the consultation planned for early 2016 was delayed until after the Brexit referendum and, to date, has not taken place. Watch this space for further updates on this.
Ban on Corporate Directors
The ban on corporate directors expected to take effect in October 2016 was also delayed. No new implementation date has been announced.
KEY CASES FOR 2018
We are awaiting a number of interesting judgements from cases heard in 2017, including:-
The Sash Window Workshop Ltd and another v King - after the ECJ judgement opening the door to significant holiday pay claims, the Court of Appeal will now consider whether a worker is entitled to be paid on termination for any periods of annual leave that have accrued during employment, where the worker has been prevented from taking that leave because the employer would not grant paid leave. Prepare for the floodgates to open.
Donelien v Liberta UK Ltd - this case which seems to have been trundling on for years was heard by the Court of Appeal in November 2017. The Court is considering an appeal against an EAT decision that an employer that took reasonable steps, but not every possible step, to ascertain whether an employee was disabled, did enough to avoid having constructive knowledge of the disability.
Capita Customer Management Limited v Ali is the case where a Tribunal ruled that a male employee was discriminated against because of his sex when his employer refused to allow him any period of shared parental leave at full pay when a women on maternity leave would have had 14 weeks' enhanced maternity pay. The case was heard by the EAT on 20 & 21 December 2017.
There are also a number of high profile cases that will be heard in 2018, most notably:-
Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police is similar to Capita v Ali above but in this case the Tribunal held that a police force's policy of giving a period of full pay to mothers on maternity leave but paying only statutory shared parental pay to partners is not discriminatory. The case is due to be heard in the EAT on 16 January 2018.
Pimlico Plumbers Ltd v Smith heads to the Supreme Court on 20 and 21 February dealing with employment status.
Focus Care Agency Ltd v Roberts heads to the Court of Appeal on 20 March 2018 where the correct approach to determining the question of whether employees who "sleep-in" in order to carry out duties, if required, engage in "time work" for the full duration of the night shift or whether they are only entitled to NMW when they are awake and carrying out relevant work.
Uber BV and ors v Aslam and ors - although no date has been fixed after Uber's application to leapfrog their appeal from the EAT directly to the Supreme Court was rejected in November, this case is likely to be heard in the Court of Appeal at some point in 2018.
Lee v McArthur and Ashers Baking Company Ltd, otherwise known as the "gay cake case" will be heard by the Supreme Court on 1 May 2018. The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland held that a bakery directly discriminated against a gay man on the grounds of sexual orientation by refusing to bake a cake with the caption "Support Gay Marriage" on it.
International Petroleum Ltd & Ors v Osipov and Ors will be heard by the Court of Appeal in July. The appeal is against a decision of the EAT which decided that two non-executive directors were personally liable for their part in the dismissal of a whistleblower.
Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley & Ors will be heard by the Court of Appeal on 31 October. The appeal follows an EAT decision that a predominantly female group of supermarket retail employees can compare themselves with a mainly male group of distribution depot employees for the purposes of an equal pay claim of work of equal value.
Employment Law Fact Card 2017/18
Our employment law fact card is full of useful information for employers. You can access the PDF version of the 2017/18 version at the link below, or if you would like a free hard copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address.
Guide to Employment Law
For an overview of UK employment law see A Guide To Employment Law In Scotland, England & Wales. You can also find Innes on Google+, Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.