If we were to summarise in 4 words the things that distracted us employment lawyers from the Price Bailey Legal Services team in 2017 and will continue to do so in 2018, this would be; Fees, Gig-Economy, GDPR, Brexit.
The long awaited and much anticipated outcome of Unison’s appeal was finally given in July 2017, in a landmark case, the Supreme Court deciding that the tribunal fee regime which was introduced more or less exactly 4 years before, was unlawful.
What does this mean? A headache for the newly streamlined Tribunal Service who now have to refund a multitude of claims and at the same time deal with an influx of new claims. We have already faced the pain and backlogs as we wait for responses from Tribunals to our clients’ claims, and our correspondence. But a cure for those who faced the headache of being denied true access to justice.
Remember, one of the big reasons for introducing fees in the first place was to deter spurious claims or claims made simply to pressure employers into financial settlements. We’re essentially back where we were 4 years ago on this, with the headache simply being transferred from one suffering party to the other. A better solution clearly needs to be sort – but we’ll have to wait to see whether such a solution is on anyone’s radar!
The Gig-Economy was one of the biggest buzzwords of 2017 and we have not been able to escape hearing it in the news after an influx of high profile claims from individuals questioning their employment status and rights. Such cases have included, Uber, Deliveroo and Pimlico Plumbers with varying outcomes leaving the future of the Gig-Economy in the air as we await further clarification from the Supreme Court. Pimlico Plumbers have challenged the Court of Appeal decision that plumbers were held to be workers. If deemed workers the plumbers could claim holiday pay stretching back to 1998.
In addition we await the government’s response to the Taylor Review on modern working practices including the “gig work” platforms and other flexible working models which means we’re certain to hear more of the ‘Gig-Economy’ in 2018.
Unless you have been hiding in a dark cave (which may be a better option!) there is a proposed significant revamp of the data protection legislation with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) coming into effect on 25 May 2018. Unfortunately remaining in the cave will not work, as there will be hefty fines for failure to comply, of up to 4% of global turnover. Experts have said that Uber would have been fined £17.75m for their recent data breach under GDPR rules.
We are running training sessions for clients to try to help make sense of the new rules, and many now realise that they can no longer be ignored, and the dreaded introduction day is looming. There is much to consider so now is the time to act – get in touch with us below if you are interested in having some support with your preparation and implementation.
We still wait to see what will happen here both from an employment law aspect and generally, although there is some good news amongst the loom of Brexit…
Steps are starting to take place to reduce the gender pay gap and disparity in pay for males and females. We’ve already heard some detail with the BBC publishing their salaries and disparities, and all large employers must have published their gender pay gap statistics by 4 April 2018. In the public sector, the large employers must do this by 4 March 2018.
And if you are a Grandparent, finally your invaluable support and assistance to the family unit and care of children may finally pay off as we await the decision as to whether Grandparental Leave will be introduced.
This post was written by Claire Berry of the Price Bailey Legal Services team. For further information or to speak to one of our legal advisors please get in touch by using the form below.
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