UK legislation update: Government supports various Private Members’ Bills; national minimum wage increase from April 2023

The Government recently announced its support in second readings of a number of Private Members’ Bills proposing reforms originally slated for the elusive Employment Bill.  Most provide for the detail of the changes to be made by regulation and are therefore light on detail, but they do increase the likelihood of proposals actually coming into … Read more

UK: workplace challenges in the metaverse

The law on harassment, discrimination and privacy of workers is well established online and in the office. But applying these rules in the metaverse will still raise some novel risks and challenges For technology enthusiasts, the advent of the metaverse – an expanding 3D virtual universe where you experience a digital life as an avatar … Read more

UK: EAT ruling adds to doubts around ability to waive certain statutory claims

It is common practice for employers to require departing employees to sign a statutory settlement agreement in order to waive statutory employment claims in return for a compensation sum.  Unfortunately, it has never been possible to guarantee an entirely clean break in this way, as illustrated by a recent EAT ruling in Bathgate v Technip … Read more

UK: Employers should consult before adopting redundancy selection criteria which effectively determine a pool of one

Carrying out a fair redundancy usually involves identifying an appropriate pool from which to provisionally select employees using fair selection criteria, and then consulting with the individual(s) provisionally chosen.  A recent EAT decision has made clear that an employer may need to consult at an earlier stage, prior to the choice of criteria, if the … Read more

UK: Internal grievance report could not retrospectively acquire legal privilege

Employers should bear in mind that internal grievance investigation reports will usually not be privileged and so will be disclosable at tribunal. A recent EAT ruling held that the original version of an internal report, which was not privileged at the time it was prepared, did not later acquire legal advice privilege simply because comparison … Read more

UK: mini-budget highlights for employers (updated)

This email has been updated to reflect subsequent changes reversing some of the announcements included in the mini-budget. The Chancellor has announced the following changes of particular interest to HR and employment lawyers: Changes to income tax and NICs rates From 6 November 2022 the 1.25% increase to the rate of National Insurance Contributions introduced … Read more

UK: tribunal rulings extend scope of protected philosophical beliefs

Employers should keep a watchful eye on the steady stream of cases challenging the boundaries of the protection for philosophical and religious beliefs.  Employee activism and use of social media mean the potential for a clash of opposing beliefs in the workplace will only increase; a considered, sensitive response that does not take sides will … Read more

UK: pandemic-related leave policy was not discriminatory

Employers who put in place advantageous leave policies for those needing to shield or look after children during the pandemic lockdowns will not be liable for discrimination claims just because the policy could have been even more favourable. In Cowie v Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, employees were offered a new type of discretionary paid leave … Read more