Frontline UK Employment Law Update Edition 1 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of Frontline UK.

Our feature article, written by Rob Briggs, covers a raft of legislative changes in the employment sphere coming into force over the next couple of months, to help businesses to start preparing ahead of time.

Our immigration feature, written by Yuichi Sekine, covers the Migration Advisory Committee's latest report on Brexit.

Our case updates cover a Supreme Court decision on whistleblowing and an Employment Tribunal decision on equal pay against the BBC.

Finally, our legal updates cover new guidance published by the Equality and Human Rights commission on sexual harassment in the workplace and the April 2020 increases to several aspects of statutory pay.

New Year, New Employment Law

With Christmas and New Year receding rapidly, HR and legal advisers are starting to work through their "to do" lists for 2020. It is set to be a significant year in employment law, with a raft of legislative changes coming into force over the next couple of months. Many of the changes will require businesses to start preparing ahead of time. In this article, we focus on the main upcoming changes.

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HR Data Essentials site

Data privacy touches all aspects of a business, perhaps none more so than HR and employee management where those responsible will necessarily be handling and managing significant amounts of personal, and sometimes fairly sensitive data.

It is increasingly important for HR, Human Capital and Talent teams to have a good understanding of privacy matters and how these impact their day-to-day activities, as well as anticipating the implications of developments within the business.

To help you navigate this issues, we have created the HR Data Essentials site. This site brings together key resources for HR teams in tackling key data-related issues, from country-specific analysis and comparison tools, to cross-border and regional focus pieces, to help you understand HR data from every angle.

We hope you find this new site helpful, and if you would like to know more about our services, please get in touch with us.


Immigration Update

The Migration Advisory Committee's latest report on Brexit

The Migration Advisory Committee ("MAC") recently published their much awaited report on the Australian-style Points-based system as a model for the UK's future immigration system. To many immigration lawyers, the report came as a surprise as it suggests no significant changes to the existing Points-based system that has been in place since 2008.

Click here for the article >

Case Summary

Supreme court decides that real reason for a dismissal decision must be taken into account even if unknown to the dismissing manager

Royal Mail Group v Jhuti [2019] UKSC 55

The highly contentious case of Royal Mail v Jhuti has been brought to a close with the Supreme Court's recent decision. The Court decided that in whistleblowing cases, when looking at the true reason for the employer's decision to dismiss an employee, a hidden reason, knowledge or motivation that influenced or manipulated the decision should be taken into account.


Samira Ahmed wins equal pay claim against BBC

Samira Ahmed v BBC ET 2206858/2018

An Employment Tribunal has decided that Samira Ahmed's work on Newswatch was like work, or work of equal value, to Jeremy Vine's work on Points of View for equal pay purposes. The BBC was also unable to show that the difference in pay was because of a material factor which did not involve sex discrimination.


Legal Updates

EHRC releases new guidance on sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace

As the repercussions of the #metoo movement continue to be felt in the world of work, more than two years on, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has issued new guidance on sexual harassment and harassment in the workplace, together with a seven-step employer guide on preventing sexual harassment at work.

Whilst the new guidance is not a statutory code of practice, meaning that employment tribunals are not legally obliged to take it into account when hearing harassment claims, it can be used as evidence in tribunal proceedings, where considered relevant. Employers looking to improve their practice in this area would be well-advised to review the new guidance, which contains helpful information on ways of preventing harassment in the workplace and the contents of a good policy on workplace harassment.

April 2020 proposed increases to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay announced

The Department for Work and Pensions has placed a paper in the members' library of the House of Commons setting out proposed increases to a number of statutory benefit payments. The following rates are expected to apply from April 2020:

  • The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) will be £95.85 (up from £94.25).
  • The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay (SMP) and maternity allowance will be £151.20 (up from £148.68).
  • The weekly rate of statutory paternity pay (SPP) will be £151.20 (up from £148.68).
  • The weekly rate of statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) will be £151.20 (up from £148.68).
  • The weekly rate of statutory adoption pay (SAP) will be £151.20 (up from £148.68).

The rates will be confirmed once an Order is made. The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which would be 5 April 2020.

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