In our traditional first update of the year, we outline some of the key developments we expect to see in the field of employment law during 2017.
Unsurprisingly, uncertainty will continue in this area. We can expect the Supreme Court’s judgment on whether an act of Parliament is needed to trigger Article 50 to begin the Brexit process or whether the Government can trigger Article 50 without an act of Parliament. Theresa May has announced that the Government wants to trigger Article 50 before the end of March 2017. We believe that there will be implications and reverberations not only in 2017 but well beyond.
Employment law implications of Brexit are not likely to bite in 2017, so we can expect European law to continue to have an important impact on key areas such as working time, holidays and discrimination law for the time being.
Gender pay gap reporting
Large private and voluntary sector employers will need to capture gender pay gap data from April 2017 as they will be required to report in April 2018.
The gig economy
Following the Uber case, we can expect further court decisions on the employment status of various workers who work in the ‘gig’ economy, such as delivery drivers and tradesmen. We can probably expect the trend of findings that these individuals are ‘workers’, with entitlement to rest breaks, paid holidays and minimum wage, to continue.
The Supreme Court will decide at the end of March whether the government’s Employment Tribunal Fees regime is lawful. It is also possible that the government might publish the long-overdue findings from its own review of the fees regime, but don’t hold your breath!
Separately, it remains to be seen how quickly the Scottish Government might be able to implement its promise to abolish tribunal fees in Scotland when it gains administrative control over the Scottish Employment Tribunal system.
Ongoing government employment law review
On 30 November 2016, the government launched the Independent Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy. The review will ‘consider the implications of new models of working on the rights and responsibilities of workers, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations’. The review is expected to last for approximately six months.
As always there will be many cases determined in 2017 which could or will have an impact on you and your business. We will report on them as and when the judgements are given.