Employment law updates

2017 was a busy year in the world of Employment Law. Among the legal headlines were the removal of employment fees and the beginning of what was to become a national consultation on the pay gap between men and women.

However, the changes aren’t over for employers and HR professionals: with March 29th 2019 signalling the UK’s separation from the EU, 2018 looks set to be a year of significant change, particularly where Employment Law is concerned. Let’s take a look at the main events you might want to put in your calendar.

April

Marking the end of the old financial year and the start of the new, it seems appropriate that the topic of tax will take the spotlight this month. April will see the government making changes to the way termination payments are taxed, including safeguarding the first £30,000 against income tax and National Insurance contributions. This will also be the month in which the first reports detailing the pay gap between the sexes must be submitted.

April also heralds the withdrawal of Employment Allowance for a year from any employers who are found to have employed illegal workers.

In addition, the Fit for Work assessment service will be scrapped at the end of March, as well as overhauling its current fit note scheme – exact details as to who, other than Doctors, will hold certification powers in the future is still unclear.

May

The big one for May will be the government rolling out the EU-approved General Data Protection Regulation laws. Among the many new protocols will be the right for individuals to be informed if their data has been compromised and the right for them to have their information deleted from search engines.

June

This is the month in which the EU’s Trade Secrets Directive comes into play, giving greater protection to Intellectual Property Rights. For businesses and individuals, this will mean greater recourse in the event that trade secrets are misappropriated, especially by a member of staff.

Other Key Events in 2018

While it’s hard to see beyond the first months of 2018, there are further changes to Employment Law expected, although their absolute dates remain yet to be confirmed. However, if you’re an employer or an HR professional, these are the upcoming key events to keep an eye out for:

Grandparental Leave

A hot topic since Parental Leave was introduced in 2015, Grandparental Leave will see parents able to assign part of their maternity or family leave to grandparents, allowing them to return to work more quickly. In addition, the move is hoped to encourage grandparents to remain in work, rather than having to leave their jobs in order to help their children with childcare.

Payment for Sleep-In Shifts

Towards the end of 2018, the clock will be ticking fast for employers who have not yet chased up their obligations to the Social Care Compliance Scheme. Launched in 2017, the scheme gave employers until 2019 to identify and pay what they owe to workers who may have been paid less than the minimum wage for sleep-in shifts. Once the deadline has expired, employers will have three months in which to make the outstanding payments, or face legal action.

Brexit

Although this doesn’t come into effect until the third month of 2019, employers will be watching the continued negotiations regarding Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. While the Settled Status agreement seems to have gained some ground, the main issue for employers is likely to be how the legislation for immigrant workers will change.

The anticipated date for review of the rules will be in 2021, which gives businesses three years in which to begin recruiting and try and stay ahead of the constantly-shifting Brexit sands.

2018 looks to be an important year for those who have any dealing with Employment Law. While the short-term changes are well worth investigating, the long-term plans are the ones that are set to have the greatest effects.

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