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Employment Law Update June 2017

22 Jun 2017

Gender Pay Reporting

The obligation on companies with more than 250 employees to publish key data on the gender pay gap has now come into force. Many employers are finding that their figures show a significant pay gap despite paying male and female employees the same for ‘like for like’ jobs. Employers may wish to consider addressing this in the ‘narrative’ accompanying their figures to minimise adverse publicity.

Disability Discrimination in recruitment

An online multiple choice test for job applicants was found to have placed an applicant with Asperger’s at a particular disadvantage and could not be justified by the employer. The employer’s decision to refuse the applicant’s request to submit short written answers was found to be discriminatory. The decision will interest employers who use similar tests and who may be expected to adjust their methods should they disadvantage disabled applicants.

Pension Auto-enrolment

A high street shoe retailer has had to pay the Pensions Regulator £40,000 in penalties for non-compliance with employer auto-enrolment duties.The Regulator has stated that this should serve as a reminder that it will use its powers to ensure compliance.

Sickness Absence – good news at last

The Office for National Statistics has announced that the number of workers calling in sick is at an all-time low. In 2016, 4.3 days per worker were lost due to sickness, down from 7.3 days in 1993, when records began.

Poor attitude to organisational change could constitute gross misconduct

A recent case held that an employee’s failure to cooperate and support organisational change (including unprofessional conduct in a meeting) constituted gross misconduct.The employee’s actions were sufficient to be found guilty of disrepute, insubordination and negligence in accordance with the employer’s disciplinary procedure. It is, however, important to remember that every case is decided upon its particular facts.

Conservative Party Commitments

The Conservative party is expected to form a government with the support of the Northern Irish Democratic Union Party, however, what effect this may have on their manifesto pledges remains to be seen. The Tories had promised the following in respect of employment law:

  • To protect all workers’ rights derived from EU law following Brexit
  • To continue to increase the National Living Wage
  • To improve worker representation at board level
  • To implement a statutory right to time off for caring for family members
  • To allow unpaid time off for employee training
  • To extend requirements relating to gender pay gap and introduce ‘race gap’ reporting

Watch this space for further updates…

For further information or advice, please contact a member of our Employment Team