25 Jan 2017

Trump, Theresa and Thundersnow – 2017, the year of transition?

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2017 has got off to a flying start and looks set to be a bumper year in employment law. We expect a number of legislative and case law developments across a range of topics including: the long-awaited introduction of mandatory gender pay gap reporting; clarification of what exactly is "in the public interest" in relation to whistleblowing; and further challenges to the status of those engaged in the "gig economy".

January – February 2017

The new regime for "buy-outs" - now in force

Typically, employees lose any unvested equity awards and any unpaid cash bonuses when they resign. Within the financial services sector, new employers often "buy-out" forfeited awards. New PRA rules are now in force in relation to "buy-out" contracts concluded on or after 1 January 2017. Our buy-out regime alert provides further information for employers.

Working families boost?

The Government’s tax-free childcare scheme is expected to launch in early 2017. It will allow working families to claim 20% of childcare costs for children under 12 (or under 17 for children with disabilities) from the Government. Claims will be capped at £2,000 per year and there are eligibility requirements in terms of minimum and maximum income levels.

March 2017

End to commuter misery?

Draft statutory instruments have now been published suggesting that the Trade Union Act 2016 will come into force on 10 March 2017, increasing the voting thresholds for most strike actions. They define "important public services" (Health, Fire, Transport, Education and Border Security) affected by the new law.

Certificates at the ready! – 7 March 2017

Individuals subject to the Certification Regime will need to have been assessed by their employer as fit and proper. The Conduct Rules will also start to apply to banking sector staff who are not within the Senior Managers or Certification Regimes and not classed as "ancillary staff". Our alert on preparing for the extension of the new accountability regime provides further information.

To fee or not to fee; that is the question

The Supreme Court is due to hear Unison's appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision in relation to the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees.

Brexit

Despite the Supreme Court's decision yesterday, Theresa May has maintained that she intends to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and thus commence the formal process of the UK leaving the EU before the end of March 2017.

With many UK employment rights having their roots in EU law, it remains to be seen which will stand the test of time. The planned "Great Repeal Bill" will reportedly safeguard current rights in the short term with all current EU law to be transposed onto the UK statute book.

April 2017

A country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us?

From 1 April, the national living wage will rise to £7.50 per hour and the adult rate of the national minimum wage will rise to £7.05 per hour (for individuals aged 21 – 24 years old).

In addition, the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations (the Regulations) were published in final form on 7 December 2016 and are due to come into force on 6 April 2017. All private sector organisations with at least 250 employees will be required to publish details of their gender pay gap based on a snapshot of data as at 5 April 2017. Organisations will then have one year to finalise and publish their reports (by 4 April 2018 at the latest) and will be obliged to report on an annual basis thereafter. Our gender pay gap alert provides further detailed guidance for employers.

Have you updated your payroll system?

From April 2017 changes to the tax status of salary sacrifice benefits will result in most salary sacrifice schemes becoming subject to the same tax as income. Only a limited number of salary sacrifice schemes will retain the benefit of tax and NICs relief including pension contributions, childcare and cycle to work schemes.

At the same time, the Apprenticeship levy is also pencilled to come in with a levy of 0.5% of the pay bill of larger UK employers (with a yearly pay bill which exceeds £3 million) being collected through PAYE alongside income tax and national insurance.

June 2017

Renovation required?

Chesterton Global Ltd v Nurmohamed is due to be heard in the Court of Appeal in June 2017. It is hoped clarification will be given as to the interpretation of what constitutes "public interest" in the context of whistleblowing claims.

July – December 2017

Is the gig over?

In the second half of 2017, the Employment Appeal Tribunal is expected to hear Uber's appeal from the Employment Tribunal's decision that Uber taxi drivers are not genuinely self-employed and are workers entitled to rights, including paid holiday and the national minimum wage. There may also be an appeal by CitySprint in relation to the more recent Employment Tribunal decision that one of its cycle couriers is a worker rather than a self-employed contractor.

Locked in?

British Gas are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal's decision that the Working Time Regulations can and should be interpreted in line with the decision from the European Court of Justice that holiday pay must include a representative element of results-based commission for workers who receive regular commission payments as part of their normal remuneration. For more information on the Court of Appeal's decision click here.

2017 is shaping up to be a weird and wonderful year and we will be publishing regular alerts to keep you up to date for the latest developments in employment law.

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KEY CONTACT

Kiersten Lucas

Kiersten Lucas
Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2760 M:  +44 7787 281 159 Email Kiersten | Vcard Office:  London

Ciaran Bowler

Ciaran Bowler
Associate

T:  +44 20 7809 2294 M:  +44 7740 433 864 Email Ciaran | Vcard Office:  London