Wed 30 Oct 2019

New Legislation, Guidance & Consultations - November 2019

The took place on 14 October.  Although the UK Government's commitment to the Good Work Plan was re-iterated, there was no new legislation arising from it proposed.

The speech did however include the intention to pass legislation to require employers to pass all tips and service charges on to workers.  A statutory Code of Practice is to be introduced setting out the principles for fair distribution, which along with transparency,  is also a requirement of the proposed bill. 

A new immigration bill, related to Brexit, is proposed which would end free movement in UK law, allow the treatment of EU citizens arriving in the UK after January 2021 to be aligned with the treatment of non-EU citizens and lay the foundations of a point based system for immigration.  The bill is also to clarify the status of Irish citizens once free movement comes to an end.

It was reported in advance of the vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal that the UK Government had met with some Labour MPs and "agreed to make a number of commitments that ensure increased protection of workers rights".  This is said to include a commitment to consult on improving unfair dismissal rights by way of reducing the qualifying period from two years to one year and addressing any anomalies in the TUPE Regulations to ensure they are working in the interests of workers.

Away from the Queen's speech, a consultation has opened on the draft regulations that will implement the UK Government's aim to subject all termination payments above the £30,000 threshold to class 1A NICs (i.e. employer NICs). The regulations also apply to non-contractual and non-customary sporting testimonials above £100,000.  The consultation seeks views from employers, businesses, sporting testimonial committees and their advisers and closes on 16 January 2020.  The regulations are due to take effect from 6 April 2020.

Following on from the UK Government's response to the consultation on the misuse of confidentiality agreements in the workplace, the EHRC has published guidance on the use of confidentiality agreements in discrimination cases.  The guidance is aimed at helping employers understand how and when they can use confidentiality agreements legitimately, clarifying the law and setting out good practice in relation to their use. 

ACAS published new guidance on the menopause to coincide with World Menopause Day.  The guidance is intended to help employers support workers through the menopause, encouraging the introduction of a menopause policy and giving examples of supportive changes that could be made as well as warning of the risks of not taking action.  While menopause and peri-menopause are not specifically protected under the Equality Act treating a worker unfairly could still amount to sex, age or disability discrimination.

And finally, CIPD have just published a new ethics at work guide - Ethics at work: an employer's guide. This guide discussed red flags to watch out for, along with practical tips and resources to help employers safeguard their organisation and people against ethical breaches and misconduct. This guide also features 9 areas of action that employers can focus on to ensure they behave ethically.

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