Looking beyond 2019….
… into the employment law crystal ball for 2019 and 2020 reveals that, even without Brexit, there will be some major changes coming into force or planned for later implementation. Read on:
The Good Work Plan
- Published in 2018, this commits the Government to implement some of the Taylor Review’s recommendations to improve working conditions and clarify employment status for atypical workers such as agency workers and zero-hour workers. There is no time limit – other than that changes are expected in 2020 – but expect to see consultation and legislation that levels the playing field with typical employee circumstances.
- In parallel with this will be new EU Directives on transparent working conditions for atypical workers, but the effect of any Brexit makes these less relevant for the time being.
- For the envious or nosy, the requirement to publish the ratio between the CEO’s pay and the wider workforce average applies for financial years beginning on or after 1stJanuary 2019. If you are a large company with at least 250 employees, try to avoid repeating the flurry of the gender pay gap reporting and start to collect your data now.
- Greater employee engagement will be a requirement of listed companies for financial years beginning on or after 1st January 2019. The 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code recommends three methods for promoting employee engagement: (i) appointing a director from the workforce, (ii) creating a workforce advisory panel, or (iii) the creation of a designated non-executive director responsible for employee engagement. Any derogation will need to be justified.
Itemised Pay Statements
- You might have thought that people were already entitled to this sort of data. New legislation introducing a right for all workers to be provided with an itemised pay statement will come into force in April 2019.
- The #MeToo and the #TimesUp movements tie in, both accidentally and causally, with a new statutory code of practice on sexual harassment from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Exactly when isn’t clear, but is likely to be some time in 2019.
- There may also be some developments on whether Non Disclosure Agreements are permissible or effective in the context of sexual harassment and discrimination settlement agreements.
- For the litigious among you, the senior courts will be pronouncing on an employment restrictive covenant for the first time in a long time; on the territorial jurisdiction of employment tribunals (important for employers with international staff); and on discrimination based on perceived disability.
- The draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019, which are due to come into force on 6 April 2019, will increase the maximum penalty for an aggravated breach of employment law by 400% from £5,000 to £20,000.
- There is also some talk of re-introducing employment tribunal fees. The effect of abolishing them in 2017 has been to clog up the tribunal system so that cases are now being listed 18 months into the future, which can’t be good for justice. This is also to do with cuts to tribunal funding or personnel as a result of drop in claims when fees first introduced which the government has not sought to address once fees reinstated.