A Senate Committee has concluded its deliberations regarding its review into the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths. A sense of ‘back to the future’ arises in considering many of the Majority’s recommendations. The Majority report recommends giving Unions the right to commence criminal prosecutions, an increase in statutory timeframes for bringing prosecutions, a bigger stick, more offences, higher penalties. This will certainly support the groundswell for industrial manslaughter offences to be introduced. There were some other issues which crept in – including a dramatic broadening of the meaning of ‘officer’, and a formal prohibition on insurance policies providing indemnity for penalties (which is a view HSF supports).
The Government has published a consultation on ethnicity pay reporting, making clear its position that this should become mandatory (possibly subject to a trial or phased approach with ‘early adopters’). The consultation is open until 11 January 2019.
The consultation is a response to a one-year-on review of progress made following the 2017 McGregor-Smith independent review. The 2017 report recommended introducing a mandatory reporting duty, but the Government’s preferred response at that time was to encourage voluntary reporting and monitor progress. Since then, both the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee recommended consultation on a mandatory duty to report ethnicity pay gap data. Given the limited voluntary progress made in the last 12 months, the government has now agreed that a mandatory duty is required. (The review found that only 11% of employees had their ethnicity pay data collected; EHRC research published in August 2018 found that only 36% of employers collect and analyse data to identify any differences in pay and progression between different ethnic groups, and very few publish that pay gap data.) Continue reading
There have been a number of recent developments to licensing schemes in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. Most notably, the South Australian government has recently announced it intends to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017 (SA) and is no longer accepting licence applications.
Please click the map below for a summary noting the current status of licensing schemes around Australia at a State and Federal level.
As a reminder, following the Macron Reforms of 22 September 2017, all companies with 11 or more employees must put in place a Social and Economic Committee (a “CSE”) by 31 December 2019.
This means that:
- companies with between 11-49 employees who did not previously have an obligation to have a Works Council must now organise elections; and
- companies with an existing Works Council must organise elections for a CSE
before 31 December 2019. Continue reading
Here’s a short video made for Practical Law, in which Herbert Smith Freehills IP and Employment Professional Support Consultants, Rachel Montagnon and Anna Henderson, discuss the impact of the UK’s recent Trade Secrets (Enforcement etc) Regulations 2018 and practical approaches to protecting confidential information and trade secrets.
Key issues discussed are:
- The new, common definition of a trade secret
- What constitutes lawful and unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure of a trade secret
- Practical steps businesses can take to protect confidential information
- Considerations in relation to whistleblowing
- Guidance around reverse engineering
- Bringing a claim under the regulations
- Remedies and provision for damages.
These new UK trade secrets regulations have implemented the Trade Secrets Directive ((EU) 2016/943) and came into force on 9 June 2018. Also on our IP Notes blog, see our Milan office’s post on the Italian implementation of this Directive and our previous posting on implementation of the Directive in the UK.
Our article Recruitment and protection of talent: a boardroom issue for pharma is available on our pharma hub here. Technological advancement is key amongst the forces driving change in the pharmaceutical healthcare sectors, with businesses increasingly partnering with non-traditional players such as tech giants, agile biotech start-ups and insurers. In this article we explore how the industry’s increasing focus on tech, including AI, will give rise to a corresponding need to find innovative solutions to attract, retain and incentivise talent experienced in those areas, given the relatively small and highly mobile pool of potential recruits. We also consider the scope for businesses to protect their valuable knowhow and intellectual property from potential threats from ex-employees. Given the critical importance of talent to the pharma industry, we highlight issues that should be factored into strategic decision-making by the board, influencing choices on collaboration, acquisition and business location.
UK: Government’s white paper on future relationship and technical notes in the event of a Brexit no-deal
Over the summer the Government published its white paper on the future UK-EU relationship post transitional period, covering a wide range of issues including immigration and employment. On immigration, the Government stated that it recognises the importance of moving and attracting talent across Europe to support the global operations of UK firms and global investors. It suggested that business visits would continue to be permitted to and from the EU under new arrangements but for paid work in only a limited number of circumstances (perhaps in line with the current business visitor rules for non-EEA nationals). The paper also suggested permitting intra-corporate transfers across Europe, based on existing arrangements with other non-EU countries. Finally, the Government made clear that it intends to seek the secure onward movement opportunities for UK nationals in the EU who are covered by the citizens’ rights part of the withdrawal agreement, should they wish to change their member state of residence in the future. There is little further detail on how migration arrangements could work after Brexit but a further white paper on immigration has been promised this autumn. Continue reading
HMRC has issued an update confirming that, with effect from 2 July 2018, where there has been a TUPE transfer of employees, all national minimum wage liabilities, including the full penalty amount, will now be enforced against the transferee employer, including penalties triggered by pre-transfer arrears. This highlights the importance of transferees obtaining an indemnity from the transferor to cover these liabilities where possible.