Key employment law developments of 2017

Louise Walker
Louise Walker
Legal Director
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2017 was another year of significant change in employment law. In this alert, we look back at three significant developments.

Tribunal Fees

The Supreme Court held that Tribunal fees were unlawful and abolished them with effect from 26 July 2017. Anyone who has paid a fee will be entitled to a refund. The Tribunal service is now receiving applications for refunds in respect of fees paid by post, and online – https://employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/apply/refund/profile-selection.

The impact of the abolition of the fees regime is clearly, and immediately, seen in the latest Employment Tribunal statistics. In the period from July to September 2017, there was a 64% increase in single cases received by the Employment Tribunal. We watch with interest to see whether this trend continues into the first and second quarters of 2018.

Gender Pay Gap

The Gender Pay Gap Regulations applied from 6 April 2017. Affected employers (those with 250 employees or more on the ‘snapshot’ date of 5 April) must now publish certain data, including overall gender pay gap figures, the proportion of men and women in each of four pay bands (quartiles) based on the employer’s overall pay range, information on the employer’s gender bonus gap (that is, the difference between men and women’s mean and median bonus pay over a 12-month period) and the proportion of male and female employees who received a bonus in the same 12-month period.

Employers have the option to include a narrative explaining any pay gaps or other disparities, and setting out what action, if any, they plan to take to address them. The provision of a narrative is strongly encouraged, but is not mandatory.

Affected employers must analyse their gender pay gap each April, and publish their gender pay gap report, and the accompanying written statement of accuracy, within 12 months. Thereafter, they must produce and publish an annual report. The report must be published on their own website and it must be kept online and publicly available for three years.

“Gig Economy” cases

There were several widely reported cases on the ‘gig’ economy, which hit the headlines. Each of the cases turned on their own particular facts and circumstances, However, it appears that a theme is emerging, as most of these cases went in favour of the workers, with a single notable exception of the case involving Deliveroo. Employers must be on the alert, ensuring that their arrangements are in order and accurately documented, to reduce the risks inherent in this area arising from unclear employment status.

If you require support on any of the developments in employment law this year, whether in relation to the highlights mentioned above or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact our team on 0141 331 5150

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