What do employers need to know and do this July?

Written on 17 Jul 2015

We set out below the key issues for employers in light of recent employment law developments.

Mandatory gender pay reporting

On 14 July, the Government published its consultation, “Closing the Gender Pay Gap”, which will help shape the new statutory requirement for private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees to disclose any gender pay gap in their organisation. The consultation also includes some broader questions on the important issue of gender pay equality. The consultation closes on 6 September 2015. Read more here.

More on holiday pay

Holiday pay is still a key issue making headlines in employment law. We have two further recent developments – first, a decision from the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal looking at whether voluntary overtime should be reflected in holiday pay and secondly, the new statutory rule limiting claims for back pay to two years. Further details are here.

Trade Union bill published

The Government published its Trade Union Bill on 15 July, together with consultations covering amongst other matters the proposals to reform and modernise the rules and code of practice on picketing and protests linked to industrial disputes and the proposed repeal of a ban on the use of agency workers. Further details on what is in the Bill and what impact this may have is here.

What did George Osborne’s Budget say for employers? 

On 8 July, George Osborne delivered the first Conservative budget for nearly a quarter of century with a pledge to “make work pay” and branding it a budget for working people. Announcements included a new national living wage, an apprenticeship levy on large businesses as part of a commitment to increase apprenticeships to 3 million in this Parliament and devolving Sunday trading rules, which currently restrict large retailers to trading for six hours on a Sunday, to local authorities and mayors. See here and here for our highlights on the budget for employers and the impact for retailers on changes to Sunday working hours.

18 month carry-over of holiday for a worker on long term sick leave 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT) has at last given employers welcome clarification on the issue of how much of the 20 days statutory holiday provided under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (and derived from the Working Time Directive) can be carried over from one year to the next when a worker is unable or unwilling to take it due to sickness. See our blog here.

EAT looks at the tricky question of when to consult on collective redundancies

With a failure to consult over collective redundancies potentially costing an employer up to 90 days’ actual pay per affected employee, it is important for employers to get its obligations in this respect right. However, unfortunately there is on-going legal uncertainty on when the obligation is in fact triggered. Whilst it is hoped that a higher court will ultimately determine this issue in the case of United States of America v Nolan, in the meantime the EAT has looked at this issue with a decision which suggests that the trigger may be earlier than employers may expect. See our blog here.

Drugs in the workplace

With several national newspapers running the story of a city worker seemingly snorting cocaine on the Northern Line earlier this month, it raises the issue of how employers can deal with drug use in the workplace. Read more in our blog here.