Employment Law Coffee Break | Neurodiversity; gig economy; roadmap out of lockdown 3 and our pensions spotlight for February

Written on 25 Feb 2021

Welcome to our Employment Law Coffee Break in which we highlight the latest developments and issues impacting UK employers

Neurodiversity: Creating inclusivity in your workplace

This week Danielle Kingdon, employment partner, speaks with Nancy Doyle, CEO of Genius Within to provide a practical introduction to neurodiversity and the considerations for employers seeking to attract, retain and support neurodiverse talent.  For many employers their understanding of neurodiversity is just developing and this podcast provides a timely and practical outline.

What did the Supreme Court say in the Uber case?

The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the long running "Uber" case. The decision inevitably has attracted much media attention with there being wider ranging implications for businesses operating on a platform model.  The decision highlights the need for organisations to understand the employment status of those working for them, together with workplace tax implications. This April sees reforms to IR35 rules in the private sector; given that the test of whether IR35 applies is an employment status test, this decision that the drivers were workers for employment purposes could also have implications for any IR35 status and will be relevant to any determinations carried out in relation to this. We look here at the Supreme Court's decision and set out here our six practical takeaways for businesses.

If you would like any further assistance in this area and the implications of the new IR35 rules on your contingent workforce, please do contact our specialist workforce solutions team. Kevin Barrow will be discussing the traps in the regime as part of our Eating Compliance for Breakfast series of webinars; please register here.

Roadmap out of lockdown 3: Considerations for employers

The Prime Minister set out on 22 February a four step roadmap to "cautiously" ease lockdown restrictions in England. However, as previously, nothing is set in stone with each step to be assessed against specifc tests – centred on the vaccination programme, pressure on the NHS and any new variants of concern - to keep infection rates under control before restrictions are eased.  Separate measures to ease lockdown are being introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We now wait for further guidance but please read here for the immediate considerations for employers. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also confirmed that companies who are required to do so should report their gender pay gap by the 4 April 2021 but it will not bring enforcement proceedings until 4 October 2021.

We are hosting a webinar on 3 March which looks at vaccination considerations for employers. Please register here.

Pensions spotlight for February: Climate risk governance and reporting

The Department for Work and Pensions is consulting on draft regulations and statutory guidance which will introduce climate risk governance and reporting duties for the trustees of trust-based (occupational) pension schemes from October 2021. The duties will apply to larger schemes first, but all schemes are being urged to consider what action they can take.

Climate change risk is also key for contract-based (for example, group personal) pension schemes. A number of providers have recently announced 'net zero' targets and the Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed that it plans to consult on climate-related disclosure requirements in the first half of 2021, with a view to rules coming into force from 2022.

The main aim of these changes is to support good governance of, and appropriate action in response to, climate change risk.  The disclosure/reporting changes also mean that members (and anyone else who is interested, including action groups) will have access to more information about the way a pension scheme is considering and responding to climate change risk.

Employers might like to continue to talk to their personal pension scheme provider about the action it is taking. For the risk and other reasons we discuss at the end of this Insight, you might also like to discuss the new provisions for trust-based schemes with the trustees of any scheme that you sponsor.