Employment Update – June 2016

The modern Slavery Act 2015 and the implications for suppliers

The modern Slavery Act includes a provision requiring businesses with a minimum turnover of £36million per annum and which supply goods and services to provide a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year. The requirement is to provide a statement of the steps taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking are not taking place in any part of their business or supply chain, or alternatively that no such steps have been taken.

It is important to bear in mind that businesses with this type of turnover will have their own supply chains, and that there is a legal requirement to report on them. In practice these businesses will require these smaller suppliers to report to them, and it will be important to put policies in place to deal with situations where an existing supplier is found to have been involved in modern slavery, or perhaps to implement stricter investigations into their suppliers when tendering for their services.

The implication is that it is likely to mean that smaller businesses will need to consider their own actions and supply chains to ensure that they do not lose out on future tender bids. Something for all businesses to think about where they have a supplier relationship.

Trade Union Act 2016

These provisions received Royal Assent on 4 May 2016 however there is no current date that has been set for these provisions to come into force. When the act does come into force it will introduce the following controversial provisions:-

. A 50% turnout when balloting for industrial action

. In the public sector, employees can only take industrial action if the ballot has the backing of at least 40% of eligible trade union members, as opposed to 50% of those who vote.

. The notice requirements will double from 7 days to 14 days unless the employer agrees to the shorter notice period of 7 days.

. There is a 6 month time-limit for industrial action after which a fresh mandate will be required.

. The ballot paper must contain a clearer description of the dispute and the planned industrial action.

The Third Party (Rights against Insurers) Act 2010

These provisions will come into force on 1 August 2016. The aim of the legislation is to provide an effective mechanism for Claimants to seek recovery directly from an insolvent Defendant’s liability insurers. The Act also allows a Claimant the right to serve notice on all companies, Directors and Insolvency Practitioners requiring disclosure within 28 days of all information relating to the Defendant’s liability insurance. This will prove a welcome relief for many Claimants and will provide another avenue for them to try and recover their losses. No doubt there will be case law development that may impact on the success of this new remedy.

Gender Pay Gap reporting – Key dates to keep in mind

Gender pay gap reporting does not come into force until 1 October 2016 however qualifying employers are required to collect information from as early as last month (May 2016). Here are some useful dates to keep in mind.

1 May 2016

Employers should start to collect data for the first reporting period. Data also includes bonus payments up to April 2017 which are captured.

1 October 2016

The Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 are expected to come into force. This will place a burden on all private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees to publish information about any gender pay gap in their organisation.

1 May 2017

Qualifying employers will be required to undertake calculations to determine any gender pay gap results.

30 April 2018

Qualifying employers will be required to publish the results of their gender pay gap analysis on their organisations website before 30 April 2018 and they must be publicly accessible. The results must also contain a signed statement that the information is accurate and must remain on the website for a minimum of three years. The results must also be uploaded onto the Government’s reporting website.

No injury to feeling awards for breach of the Working Time Regulations

The Claimant won her employment tribunal claim after her employer failed to provide her with the requisite 20 minutes rest breaks in shifts of 6 hours or more. The Claimant sought an award for injury to feelings and this was refused by the Employment Judge at first instance.

The Claimant subsequently appealed and the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that a worker cannot claim compensation for injury to feelings if they are refused rest breaks in contravention of the Working Time Regulations 1998 Rag 12(1). This is on the basis that there is nothing in UK law or EU law that provides for this as a remedy. The true remedy in this situation would be similar to a claim for a breach of contract. (Santos Gomes –v- Higher Level Care Limited UKEAT/0017/16/RN)

Call Steven Eckett on 020 7998 7777 for more information or email him at steven.eckett@bloomsbury-law.com.

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Employment Update – June 2016

Leading Solicitors in London