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Archive for April, 2016

Thursday 21 April 2016

Employment Law Bulletin April 2016

Welcome

You will be pleased to know that we have resisted the temptation to jump on the bandwagon by trying to shoehorn an employment-law perspective into the unfolding Mossack Fonseca furore, not least since at the time of going to press, it is not entirely clear how the 11 million or so documents came to be liberated from the firm. There is still time, though, and if it turns out that a disgruntled (ex) employee was responsible, we may not be able to contain ourselves…

In the meantime, this month’s roundup:

Modern slavery statements

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force last October. One requirement that it imposes on large commercial organisations is to publish a statement on their websites setting out the steps that they are taking to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in their supply chain.

The duty only applies directly to companies with a presence in the UK and a global turnover of at least £36 million a year, but a much wider range of UK employers will form part of the supply chain of such companies and are therefore likely to have to satisfy their customers that they are doing what they can to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is eliminated.

National Minimum Wage – School Caretaker claims £80,000 back pay for time spent at home

The introduction of the National Living Wage makes it more important than ever to be clear about what hours must be counted in deciding whether a worker has been paid the correct rate. This is not straightforward. A particular problem concerns workers who are required to live on the employer’s premises to deal with any issues that may arise outside of normal working hours. While the National Minimum Wage Regulations appear to exclude hours where the employee is simply ‘on call’ and is provided with appropriate sleeping accommodation, case law has taken a very narrow view of this exception. As a result, a distinction must be drawn between someone who is available ‘just in case’ he or she is needed and a worker whose very presence on the employer’s premises provides value and therefore be regarded as working even while there are no specific tasks to perform.

Childcare vouchers during maternity leave – a benefit too far?

Employees on maternity leave are entitled to continue to enjoy all their terms and conditions of her employment except those relating to “remuneration”. Benefits in kind must continue to be provided, but pay may be limited to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). So does this mean an employer has to continue a salary sacrifice scheme providing childcare vouchers during a woman’s maternity leave?

Gender Pay Gap Information

At the time of going to press we are waiting for the final regulations that will require large employers (those with 250 or more employees) to publish information about their gender pay gap. The information must relate to the amount that employees are being paid on 30 April 2017 – although the information will not need to be published until a year later. The figures will then need to be updated annually – always using 30 April as the key date.

For bonus and commission payments, the published must relate to the 12 months leading up to 30 April 2017 – so the payments made from 30 April 2016 will have to be included. Relevant employers therefore have to start thinking about compliance now.

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