This article was first published in the ELA Briefing March 2019.
Author: Peter Frost
With the abolition of tribunal fees, the number of claims has increased considerably. But greater access to justice is only meaningful if that system of justice works efficiently and employment lawyers have misgivings as to the operation of the current Employment Tribunal Service. Therefore, it seems propitious to re-examine ADR as a means of resolving employment disputes.
Comments made in an ECJ judgment on a German working time case have raised doubts as to the correctness of the UK Employment Appeal Tribunal’s rulings that pay during the 4 weeks EU-derived statutory holiday must include an amount for voluntary overtime (if sufficiently regular and paid over a sufficient period). In Hein v Albert Holzkamm, the ECJ noted that remuneration for overtime of an “exceptional and unforeseeable nature” need not be included when calculating holiday pay, but that overtime pay should be included where a worker’s contract obliges them to work overtime “on a broadly regular and predictable basis and the corresponding pay constitutes a significant element of the total remuneration”. Domestic legislation does not need to be interpreted as giving the right that pay received for overtime work be taken into account unless these conditions are satisfied. Continue reading
The Court of Appeal has given two rulings in the long-running equal value claim against Asda, in both cases ruling on preliminary points in favour of the store workers claiming equal pay with distribution depot workers. The claims will now proceed to determine whether the roles are of equal value and, if so, whether the employer has a ‘genuine material factor’ defence (ie, a reason for the pay difference which is not tainted by sex discrimination). Continue reading
On 28 January 2019 the UK Government published guidance for EEA and Swiss citizens arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.
Individuals will still be able to enter the UK to visit, work or study, but those who wish to remain for longer than 3 months will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain which will be valid for 3 years only. After this period elapses, these citizens’ right to stay in the UK will be subject to the new immigration system planned to take effect on 1 January 2021.
We have updated our Brexit Legal Guide section on migration with the proposed regime.
The Government has also announced that it is scrapping the £65 fee for eligible EU citizens to apply for settled status.
The EAT in Ibrahim v HCA International has confirmed that an employee’s disclosure complaining of false rumours circulating about him was an allegation of failure to comply with a legal obligation (ie, defamation). It was therefore capable of amounting to a qualifying disclosure for the purposes of whistleblowing protection, notwithstanding the employee’s failure to use precise legal terminology, given the substance of his complaint was clear. However, on the facts the claim failed as the employee did not have a subjective belief that his disclosure was in the public interest.
The Government has published a consultation until 5 April 2019 on proposals to extend the current period of protection for women on maternity leave during which they are given priority over any suitable alternative vacancies should their role be made redundant. (An employer’s failure to offer any such available vacancies renders the consequent redundancy dismissal automatically unfair.)
The main proposal is to extend this right of priority over vacancies to apply from the point at which the employee notifies her employer of her pregnancy in writing, through to six months after a new mother returns to work. The consultation seeks views on how this should work where an employee takes some other form of leave immediately after her maternity leave (such as annual leave or a career break) and also whether the protection should be extended to those returning from adoption leave, shared parental leave and longer periods of parental leave.
The rules regarding payslips are due to change on 6 April 2019. Itemised payslips will have to be given to ‘workers’ as well as employees, and include hours details for the hourly paid. BEIS has published guidance here.
As the second deadline for reports approaches, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has published a report urging employers to accompany their figures with narrative reports and action plans with concrete, time-bound target-driven activities to reduce the gap. The report highlights ideas for action and recommends employers to refer to the Government Equalities Office evidence-based guide on practical steps to close the gender pay gap (discussed in our blog post here).
The Government has also published its formal response to the House of Commons BEIS Committee’s report (see our blog post here) on gender pay gap reporting, clearly signalling that it is not planning any immediate changes to the regime and will await the statutory review scheduled for 5 years post-implementation.