Well, it’s been a tumultuous few months since the general election. But we’ve recently seen the Queen’s speech, the outcome of the Taylor Review, and the retraction of Employment Tribunal fee’s  last week outlined the main policies that the Conservatives intend to implement during the next 5 years.

From an HR point of view, there were a number of matters that related to employment that we thought it was worth highlighting as some may have an impact on your business in the future.

National Living Wage

The Living Wage (which applies to employees aged 25 and above) will increase in line with the current target of 60% of median earnings until 2020 which it is anticipated would take it up to around £9 per hour.  After 2020 it will rise in line with average earnings.

Employment Status and the Gig Economy

There has been much publicity in recent years regarding zero hours contracts and the status of workers in cases like Uber and Pimlico Plumbers – are they employees or are they self-employed, and what employment rights do they therefore have, if any?  The Queen’s speech outlined a commitment to “enhance rights and protection in the workplace” of such workers and this was further enforced by the outcome of the Taylor Review which talks about ‘dependent contractors’ as an emerging type of worker. Both these outcomes show where things seem to be heading rather than giving us any distinct clarity, so we will need to watch this space!

Immigration

A new ‘Immigration Bill’ will be created that will outline the status and rights of EU nationals currently living within the UK, as well as enabling the Government to repeal the current legislation relating to free movement.  After Brexit the migration of EU nationals and family members will be made subject to relevant UK law.  This could potentially have huge implications on business that currently successfully source staff from the EU, and it is hoped that new legislation will be reasonably straightforward to enable this to continue.

Data Protection

It is intended that current Data Protection legislation will be replaced and updated in 2018 with regulations (you may or may not have heard of GDPR) that will give individuals more control over their data – including ‘the right to be forgotten’.  What this means for employers is that the current clause in employment contracts covering consent for the employer to process personal data may not be enough and a separate document providing fuller information about personal data and how it is processed is likely to be required – we are currently looking into this and will be in touch with all our customers to ensure they remain compliant..

Closing pay gaps and discrimination

There has been a suggestion that the current requirement for larger organisations to report on their gender pay gap could be extended and also to report on the pay of employees from different ethnic backgrounds in a drive to continue to tackle pay discrimination, there is current talk that this could apply to organisations with as few as 50 staff- although again this is not yet a requirement so we’re keeping a close eye on developments, and finding solutions for our customers.

Be assured that as always, CitrusHR Consulting will be keeping on top of developments in all of these areas and we’ll do all we can to keep you compliant with as little fuss as possible. However, if you have any queries or concerns in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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