Japan: Improving the Treatment of Non Regular Workers

While Japan has seen an increase in the number of non-regular workers (part-time, fixed-term or dispatched workers), the terms and conditions of employment have traditionally been inferior to those offered to regular employees. Japan has recently amended the Act on Improvement of Employment Management for Part Time and Fixed Term Workers and established the Act on Improvement of Employment Management for Part Time and Fixed Term workers. These measures are aimed at ensuring that non-regular workers are treated no less favourably than regular workers with substantially similar employment circumstances. Continue reading

UK: Discrimination – tax treatment of compensation, zero hours claims, and equal pay comparators

  • In Pettigrew v HMRC the First Tier Tribunal has held that settlement payments made by reference to underpaid past earnings arising out of a claim of discrimination against part-time workers were fully taxable as employment income. The appellant referred to the earlier case of Mr A v Commissioners for HMRC where it was held that a settlement sum representing underpaid salary and bonuses due to racial discrimination was not taxable, a decision which HMRC did not appeal. However, the Tribunal in Pettigrew did not accept this – noting in particular that the Tribunal in Mr A were not referred to the correct legal authorities and in particular the principles in Kuehne + Nagel (that for a payment to be an emolument, employment need not be the sole cause but only sufficiently substantial) and Mairs v Haughey (that a payment will usually take its taxable character from the payment which it substitutes). Both Pettigrew and Mr A are only First Tier Tribunal decisions and so not binding, but the case is a firm indication that HMRC is now likely to seek to fully tax compensation for loss of earnings arising from discrimination during employment.

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UK: Employers can face ‘series of acts’ detriment claims from fixed-term employees where treatment spans a number of discrete fixed-term contracts

Where a fixed-term or part-time employee is subjected to less favourable treatment in the form of a series of similar acts or failures, the time limit for bringing a claim is three months from the last in the series. The EAT has confirmed that, where the complaint concerns the application of a rule, practice, scheme or policy across a number of separate contracts with gaps in between (in this case, a teacher’s consecutive contracts, each covering one academic semester), this can be sufficiently linked to be treated as a series (and thereby extend the time limit for claims).

The EAT also ruled that the employer could be ordered to pay the claimant’s appeal fees, even where paid by his trade union. This judgment conflicts with an earlier EAT ruling, leaving the position uncertain until clarified by the Court of Appeal or amendment to the rules. (Ibarz v University of Sheffield)