Frontline: UK Employment Law Update February 2018

Welcome to the February 2018 edition of Frontline UK.

With media-hyped hopes of both sides in the Brexit negotiations reaching a finalised transactional deal by this March, associate Alison Dixon considers what laws HR professionals need to brush up on when looking to transfer previously UK-based functions overseas.

Our Case Summary includes a Court of Appeal decision considering the threshold for acquiring "constructive knowledge" of an employee's disability; an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision confirming that injury to feelings awards may be recoverable in working time detriment claims; and a reminder from the EAT that employer's must act fairly when deciding not to renew fixed-term contracts.

Our Legal Update covers the required changes to employee payslips, which will come into effect from 6 April 2019; the government's response to the Taylor Review; and the Intellectual Property Office's draft regulations for the UK's implementation of the EU's Trade Secrets Directive.

You can also sign up to our next employment webinar, Never Trade a Secret and RSVP for Bird & Bird's upcoming Brexit event.

The Brexit bolt: HR contingency planning for relocating business functions overseas

As some of the UK's international businesses start to look at putting Brexit plans into effect, Alison Dixon looks at some of the employment law issues arising from proposals to relocate business functions overseas.


Don't miss Bird & Bird's Brexit Seminar

Wednesday 7 March 2018, 16:00 - 19:30pm

Bird & Bird 12 New Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1JP

Join us in London for a panel discussion on how businesses can plan effectively for future changes in the regulatory and polictical environment. The panel of Bird & Bird speakers, featuring our very own Jonathan Goldsworthy, will be joined by guest speaker, Ben Digby, the CBI's Director of International Trade.

Register here >>

Case Summary

When do employers have constructive knowledge of disability?

Edith Donelien v Liberata UK Ltd (Court of Appeal)

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that an employer did not have constructive knowledge of an employee’s disability where it relied on an occupational health report stating that the employee was not disabled and the employer had done all that it could reasonably be expected to have done to find out the nature of her health problems.


Injury to feelings for Working Time detriment claim

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue v Mansell (Employment Appeal Tribunal)

Awards for injury to feelings can be made by Tribunals in claims of working time detriment brought under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the EAT has held. Whether awards are made will be a question of fact in each case.


Non-renewal of fixed term contract must be fair

Royal Surrey County NHS Foundation Trust v Drzymala (Employment Appeal Tribunal)

The EAT has confirmed that an employer’s compliance with the requirements of the Fixed Term Employees Regulations when not renewing a fixed term employee's contract does not create an automatic defence against an unfair dismissal claim.


Legal Updates

Changes to employee payslips

Earlier this month a draft Order was laid down before Parliament which, when it comes into force on 6 April 2019, will require employers to make changes to the information provided on employees' payslips.

The new legislation will require employers to state on its payslips the number of hours worked by the employee, where their wages vary according to time worked. The hours can be presented as either an aggregate number of hours or as separate figures for different types of work or different rates of pay.

Government responds to Taylor review on modern working practices

The government has issued its response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, an independent report setting out principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market. The response accepts all bar one of the proposals made in the Review.

Key announcements in the response include the introduction of "day one" rights for workers, which seek to provide more clarity around employment entitlements and pay; as well as the right for all workers (particularly targeted at zero-hour contractors) to request a more stable contract and a payslip from their first day of employment. Consultations will also take place to examine in further detail Taylor's more complex proposals, including employment status, increasing transparency in the labour market, agency workers, and enforcement of employment rights.

The full report can be found here. Read our previous article on the Taylor Review here.

Trade Secrets update

The Intellectual Property Office has issued a consultation on draft regulations which seek to implement the EU's Trade Secrets Directive in the UK.

Although the IPO believes that the Directive will not require substantial changes being made to the law, the proposal to adopt the harmonised definition of a trade secret means that organisations should be looking at auditing their confidential information, and should be acting now if they are to benefit from the protection of the Directive.

Tune In

Never Trade a Secret - Sign up to our next webinar

Join our panel of employment experts from the UK, Spain and Poland for a closer look at Trade Secrets and how you can best protect your company when your employees move on.

View previous webinars here.

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