Standley Associates February 2017 Employment Law Update

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Employment Law Update

February 2017

Welcome to the first Employment Law update of 2017 in conjunction with our employment law partners Shield HR.

In this edition we cover the problem of employment categorisation - when is someone an employee, a worker or truly self-employed?

It is a problem that is prevalent in today's economy. Whilst it has existed for quite some time the flexible working models being adopted by employers, and the law cases involving employment status, are attracting much attention. This all seems unlikely to change in the near future.

Employee categorisation

The difficulty this creates for employers is it increases the possibility of their workforce challenging their status; what rights and or benefits they should be entitled to. Employers using non-employee working models are going to need to manage this risk. Hopefully, at some point, the below governmental reviews into the labour market will result in the legislative change that clarifies matters. However, this may be some time coming.

Plumbers Are Workers
The recent case of Pimlico Plumbers v Gary Smith is an example of the problems of categorisation affecting the employment market. In this matter, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision that Gary Smith, who was employed on a self-employed contract, was a worker and not a self-employed contractor. The court decided the employment tribunal was correct in finding Mr Smith had rights under the Equality Act 2010. Specifically the right to holiday pay, under the Working Time Regulations, and the right to be protected from unlawful deductions from his salary.

Uber Update
The Pimlico case above follows hot on the heels of the Uber case. The Uber case resulted in the Uber drivers in question being found to be workers of Uber and not self-employed contractors. Uber is appealing this case.

Employment Status and the Government Response
The Government has, via the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, published its Employment Status Review. This review identifies the problem of categorisation (whether an individual is an employee, worker or truly self-employed) and considers legal options for reforming the law but makes no recommendations. In addition, the Taylor Review, which is a review of the implications of new forms of work on work place rights, is likely to be published later this year. It is hoped this will lead to some increased clarity on employment status and on the categorisation of those in the Gig Economy.

Strikes and the Trade Union Act 2016
The provisions of the Trade Union Act will take effect from 1.3.17. This legislation will be of interest to those working in unionised businesses. The new law among other matters introduces more onerous balloting thresholds that must be met by trade unions if any industrial action they call is to maintain legal protections.

National Minimum Wage
With effect from 1.4.17. the following rates will apply.

25 and over £7.50
21-24 £7.05
18 -20 £5.60
16-18 £4.05
Apprentice £3.50

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Do not hesitate to forward on this update to anyone who may find it of interest.
Simon Standley
Recruitment and Executive Specialist