- Following last week’s election victory for the Conservatives, employers contemplating what may lie ahead for employment law may welcome indications from the Conservative manifesto that it will largely be business as usual. Unlike Labour, the Conservatives did not announce any radical new proposals and the focus on themes raised by the Theresa May-commissioned Taylor Review on modern working practices is likely to continue.The manifesto confirmed an intention to progress a number of proposals consulted on over the summer, including on one-sided flexibility for atypical workers, neonatal care leave, extending protection on redundancy to six months after maternity leave ends, and the creation of a single enforcement body. It also mentioned proposals to introduce one week’s carer’s leave, to make it easier for fathers to take paternity leave, and to make flexible working the default “unless employers have good reasons not to”. The manifesto acknowledged the need to tackle discrimination and address the complex reasons why some groups earn less at work, and to improve the quality of evidence and data within government about the types of barriers groups face.
The Conservatives are yet to formulate their response to other consultations, including on reintroducing employer liability for third party harassment, the mandatory publication of flexible work and family-related leave and pay policies, and on potentially re-designing family leave and pay. They are also yet to confirm any plans in relation to employment status tests. The Chancellor did commit to review the planned extension of IR35 changes to the private sector, but not necessarily to delay their introduction in April 2020 (so employers should continue to prepare for this).
- The Information Commissioner’s Office has published new guidance on special category data, draft guidance on the right of subject access (for consultation until 12 February 2020) and draft guidance on considerations for organisations developing AI decision-making systems (for consultation until 24 January 2020).
- Acas has published guidelines to help employers support menopausal staff.
- HMRC has updated its CEST tool for checking whether IR35 applies to contractors providing their services through personal service companies.
- The EU Whistleblowing Directive has now been published in the Official Journal, meaning that it must be implemented by Member States by 17 December 2021. To date the Conservative position has been that they do not intent to implement this directive, but this may ultimately be determined by Brexit negotiations.