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Employment

With the anticipated triggering of Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) heralding the beginning of Brexit, the likely appeal of the Uber judgment relating to employment status in the gig economy, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and potential overhaul of corporate governance amongst other developments set to kick-off this year, 2017 is set to be a notable one for employers!

Although the 12 Days of Christmas have only just elapsed it appears that many high earning Executives will have already made more money than the average annual salary in the UK. The High Pay Centre has reported that the CEOs of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies will have earned the average UK salary of £28,200, by the first Wednesday of 2017 i.e. just 2.5 working days into the New Year.

The ratio of the average FTSE 100 CEO salary to the average full-time employee in the UK in 2015 was reportedly 129:1. Although perhaps not the most pleasing information to read on returning to work after the festive break, it is a significant reminder of the growing pay gap that we are facing in the UK. 

In this latest in our series of blog articles on the Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017, (see Mind the Gap Please! Gender Pay Reporting and Equal Pay) we will examine the final draft of the Regulations which were published this month and the changes and clarifications that have been made to them.

Vicarious Liability. It’s the time of year again for the obligatory employment law article warning about the dangers of the office Christmas party!  We lawyers must have been very good this year as a present has landed right on our doorstep, in the form of the High Court (England & Wales) decision of Bellman V Northampton Recruitment Ltd.  

The emphasis on work experience in recruitment, especially in relation to graduates, has increased hugely in recent years. In 2015, the Independent reported that 58% of employers now rate work experience as more important than grades or a student’s personality when hiring graduates.

According to the BBC in 2013, 61% of graduates end up working for the company or firm that they have interned with. This is likely to be in part because employers will, unsurprisingly, find it much easier to judge whether an individual is a suitable fit for their business after having them work for a few weeks rather than trying to come to a verdict in a 30 minute job interview.

Pay Gap Reporting

Background and Compliance

It is anticipated the Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 will be approved this month, meaning they will come into effect in April 2017.  As previously identified in our blog, the 2016 Regulations will only apply to employers who have 250 or more ‘relevant employees’.

A London Employment Tribunal on Friday issued a judgement which could have wide-reaching implications for the so-called “gig economy”, whereby individuals and businesses engage on a short term, flexible basis. It has been argued that this model involves exploitation.  

The Tribunal ruled that two drivers who provided services to Uber were “workers” for the purposes of UK employment law and not self-employed with significant implications for their rights and protections. 

There are a number of issues and risks that employers of women who are pregnant, on maternity leave, or returning to work following maternity or share parental leave need to be aware of.

In last week’s blog we discussed issues of potential sex discrimination when offering enhanced Shared Parental Leave terms to expectant mothers but not to fathers. Another important issue that employers should think about are the particular responsibilities they have towards women who are breastfeeding. Although there is no free-standing right to time off for breast feeding, breastfeeding mothers have a number of legal protections.

Chambers UK 2018

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