Welcome to the first Mark’s Monthly of 2018.
In this article, I’m going to highlight some things to take note of in the New Year.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
The Regulations are being introduced to provide individuals with greater control over how their information is handled by organisations. There is lots for organisations to do to ensure compliance by the time of the Regulations coming into force in May.
While data protection is not an employment law matter and the reach of GDPR extends far beyond the HR function, we recognise that HR is affected by GDPR. So, we’ve partnered with an expert in the area for our first training session of the year.
On 1st February, we will be delivering a workshop on Employment Law Essentials. We’ve also invited Ken Dunlop to take part of the morning to update delegates on GDPR and help us begin to think about what we need to be doing to ensure compliance. You can sign up for the seminar here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/employment-law-essentials-gdpr-tickets-41093613103
In 2017, several cases were brought by individuals, asserting that they had certain employment rights (sick pay, holiday pay, minimum wage) when the organisations they were working with were treating them as self-employed.
Employment status is likely to continue to be a big issue in 2018. Pimlico Plumbers are taking their appeal against the decision that a plumber was a worker to the Supreme Court in February. Uber may also take its case to the Court of Appeal, after having its application to “leapfrog” the Court of Appeal and take the case straight to the Supreme Court rejected.
There are numerous other cases that will be heard at a lower level.
The government is expected to address recommendations for reforms to the “gig economy” in 2018 which may bring more clarity in this area.
Gender Pay Gap and the Employment Act (NI) 2016
You may have heard on the news recently about the resignation of the BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie citing pay inequality with male international editors. All employers in Great Britain with over 250 employees had to publish salary figures following the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. Employers must show whether pay disparities exist in their workforce and if they do, employers are required to publish an action plan to eliminate any gender pay differences.
In Northern Ireland, The Employment Act (NI) 2016, which provides for the making of the Gender Pay Reporting Regulations, is yet to be enacted due to the lack of an Executive at Stormont. The 2016 Act also requires the government to publish a gender pay strategy and action plan.
It is a case of “watch this space” for now in relation to this matter in Northern Ireland. If the 2016 Act is implemented this year, it will bring in some significant reforms including the system of early conciliation via the Labour Relations Agency, meaning that all Claimants must first contact the Labour Relations Agency in an effort to resolve their case before issuing Tribunal proceedings.
We’ll be keeping you up to date with changes in the law as they arise.
Finally, as always, feel free to get in touch if we can be of any assistance to you this year. We look forward to seeing as many as possible at our seminar on 1st February.