Employment Law Update | January 2020
Happy New Year!
We hope you enjoyed the festive season but realise you will be itching to find out what happened in the world of employment law whilst you did. December was a fairly quiet month. Here are the highlights and some things to look out for in the coming year. If you’ve missed any of last year’s updates you can find them here
A recent report by the Office of National Statistics has found that disabled workers are paid 12.2% less than non-disabled workers in the UK. The size of the pay gap differed depending on the type of disability. Workers with a mental impairment (for example depression or anxiety) experienced the largest pay gap of 18.6%, while workers with a physical impairment experienced a pay gap of 9.7%.
Occupation and qualifications accounted for a quarter of the pay gap.
This is notable for many reasons, not least that the Conservative party manifesto pledged to address disadvantages suffered by disabled people in the workplace, so something akin to equal pay legislation may be on the horizon.
The Queen’s speech set out new legislation the Government intends to introduce in the next parliament. This includes legislation to:
- Create a single labour market enforcement agency
- Provide the right to request a more predictable contract
- Provide the right to neonatal leave and pay for parents of premature or sick babies
- Extend the period of redundancy protection from the point an employee notifies her employer of her pregnancy until six months after the end of her maternity leave
- Provide a week’s leave for unpaid carers
- Make flexible working the default position
- Require organisations to ensure tips are received by workers in full.
Sometimes when a tribunal believes a claimant doesn’t have a strong case it orders that claimant to pay a “deposit” to continue with the claim (or parts of it). A tribunal took this approach in Adams v Kingdom Services Group Ltd, ordering the claimant to pay £900 to continue with a claim of automatically unfair dismissal. When he failed to pay the deposit the tribunal reconsidered the position and lowered the required deposit to £300. The Claimant appealed against the decision on the basis that his monthly disposable income of £30 – £40 meant he couldn’t afford to pay it. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that when tribunals order the payment of deposits they must provide reasons for the amount they have ordered e.g. how they have taken into account the claimant’s means. The EAT also decided that the correct deposit in this case should be just £25. Not quite the same level of deterrent as the original £900.
The Ministry of Justice’s latest statistics (1 July to 30 September) show that the number of claims have again risen compared to the same period last year. The number of single claims (i.e. claims that are not part of a group action) have risen by 38%.
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