Mon 04 Feb 2019

Employment law in the news - February 2019

In our regular slot we look at the key cases and other employment law issues that have made the news headlines over the past few weeks.

Interest in the pay of the highest earners in the country has continued apace in 2019.  Following headlines last year highlighting multi million pound pay packets, the press have been quick to pick up on the introduction of new regulations requiring top firms to report on the difference between executive salaries and the average annual pay of their employees.  No wonder then that a report by the High Pay Centre and the CIPD identifying that it took only 3 days of work for top FTSE 100 bosses to earn the typical UK annual salary of £29,574 also hit the headlines.  With a reported median pay level of £3.926 million, FTSE 100 companies are being put under pressure by the media to justify the pay of their CEOs.

Meanwhile, the UK Government response to a BEIS report on last year's gender pay gap figures has rejected a recommendation to lower the threshold for reporting from 250 to 50 or more employees.  However, the idea is not off the table completely with the Government saying that they would consult on the feasibility of changing the threshold if there was an appetite for it after this reporting year. 

Brand awareness was the name of the game at Huawei (a Chinese telecoms firm and manufacturer of mobile phones) this month with the news that staff have been punished after an official tweet was posted via iPhone.  The staff involved have allegedly been demoted to a lower paid role.

To make up for lost earnings, those Huawei staff may need to take a lead from the many entrepreneurial young people who have a side hustle in addition to their main income.  According to Henley Business School, one in four workers run at least one "side hustle" business with those aged 25 to 34 most likely to be involved.  Reported activities include everything from a roaming estate agency to being a drag queen.

4 day working weeks have hit the headlines again with the news that the Wellcome Trust is considering moving all of its 800 head office staff to a four day week in a bid to boost productivity and improve work life balance.  The company is believed to be the biggest organisation anywhere in the World to consider reducing working hours while maintaining pay. 

And finally, robots might need to start worrying about humans taking their jobs.  The Henn-na Hotel which made headlines due to its significant use of robots and other experimental machines has had to "lay off" more than half of its robotic staff following a string of complaints from guests.

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