Christmas already seems like a distant memory and the focus is now very much on what is in store for 2018.
Us employment lawyers had plenty of reasons to become animated during 2017, with the cancellation of Employment Tribunal fees, the constant debate about whether an individual is an employee, a worker or self-employed and latterly the influx of allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace which for some public figures was, a very touchy subject (pun intended). Surely 2018 cannot compete?
Well, there are a number of anticipated developments throughout 2018 to keep us all on our toes:
• Employment status – this topic will continue to run as a number of appeal cases relating to employment status are due to be heard in 2018. In particular, Uber’s well publicised appeal will be heard at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court will consider a leading case (referred to as the Pimlico Plumbers case) in February 2018.
• Gender pay gap – for qualifying private companies, the deadline for publishing their gender pay report is 4 April 2018. Although some high profile organisations have published already, we have certainly not heard the last of this, nor is the fallout from the findings over. Carrie Gracie’s resignation from her post as China editor at the BBC is just the beginning for 2018.
• Termination payments – on 6 April 2018, new legislation will bring about changes to the way in which these payments are taxed that will affect in particular termination payments incorporated within a Settlement Agreement. One of the key changes is that there will no longer be a debate about the extent to which a payment in lieu of notice can legitimately avoid any tax or national insurance. From 6 April, any payment in lieu of notice will always be subject to tax and national insurance deductions.
• Statutory payments – we will have the usual statutory payment increases in April 2018 which will include an increase from £140.98 to £145.18 in respect of statutory adoption, maternity, paternity and shared parental leave pay and an increase from £89.35 to £92.15 for statutory sick pay.
• GDPR – the General Data Protection Regulations will come into effect on 25 May 2018.|Whilst the implications are wide reaching for most businesses, we are particularly concerned about the impact on employee data, and the need for consent to process that information. Data protection is one of the most talked about issues as we go into the New Year.
• Mental health in the workplace – there have been increasing amounts of press surrounding the promotion of positive mental health in the workplace and the onus is on employers to take steps to protect its workers. ACAS suggest that mental illness costs employers in the UK around £30 billion per year in lost productivity, absence and recruitment costs. A good starting point is to consider implementing a mental health policy.
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