Employment and Pensions Law (5 - 19 February)

Feature of the Fortnight

Back in July 2017, Matthew Taylor published the Taylor review which was a culmination of an independent review into modern working practices. The Government has published its Good Work Plan as a response to this report. The Good Work Plan involves four separate consultations which have been individually published and set out how the Government plans to implement the recommendations. Lewis Silkin discuss the merits and criticisms of the Government’s response, citing the intention to act on all but one of the 53 recommendations Taylor made. However, the article then goes on to suggest that the Government do not commit to many specific changes and merely ask for more detail in numerous cases. In another Lewis Silkin article, the issue of paying interns is discussed in further detail, as HMRC have initiated a crackdown as a result of the Taylor review. The article points out that interns must still be considered ‘workers’ and therefore, must be paid the minimum wage. According to Personnel Today, the Good Work Plan aims to ensuring all casual workers and those on zero-hour contracts receive holiday and sick pay, amongst other basic rights. The article also cites intentions to increase employment tribunal fines, naming and shaming employers who don’t pay employment tribunal awards, and considering an increase in the minimum wage for those on a zero-hours contract.

Employment News

Top women doctors lose out in NHS pay stakes

BBC News – 16 February

Figures obtained by the BBC have revealed that, amongst other discrepancies, there is a pay gap of 12% between full-time women consultants and their male counterparts in the NHS.  Even when outside factors such as overtime and bonuses were removed from the equation, women were still paid an average of £1,500 less than men. Dr Anthea Mowat has commented that there is ‘clearly still a long way to go’, despite recent progress on gender pay.

Primark faces £47k bill for ‘shocking’ transgender discrimination

Personnel Today – 13 February

Alexandra de Souza E Souza, a retail assistant for Primark has been awarded £47,433.03 by the employment tribunal after she was  harassed for being transgender by her colleagues, supervisor and HR. As a result of the decision, Primark has been advised to create a written policy on how to manage staff who are transgender or wishing to undergo gender reassignment appropriately.

Union seeks judicial review over Deliveroo "workers" in legal challenge to employment status

City A.M. – 12 February

Last year, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled that Deliveroo drivers are not workers. However, the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is seeking to challenge that decision on behalf of numerous drivers. The IWGB is arguing that the CAC did not correctly interpret the law when it made its initial decision on their employment status.

Tesco’s £4bn equal pay case could create ‘tidal wave of litigation’

People Management – 7 February

Law firm, Leigh Day, are representing nearly 100 Tesco employees, who have launched a claim that ‘female shopfloor workers earn up to £3 an hour less than male warehouse staff’. People Management report that, if the claim is successful, Tesco could have to pay up to 200,000 employees back pay of £20,000 each.

UK: Surveillance - European decisions highlight right to privacy in the workplace

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP – 7 February

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP discusses two cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR): in both Antović and Mirković v Montenegro and López Ribalda v Spain, the ECHR held that the use of video/surveillance cameras in student auditoriums and a supermarket respectively violated privacy rights. These cases demonstrate the importance for employers of ‘reviewing monitoring practices and policies’.

Linklaters women paid nearly 40% less than men

The Law Society Gazette – 7 February

Under gender pay gap reporting legislation, whereby all firms with over 250 employees must publish their payment figures, it has been revealed that Linklaters have a 40% pay gap between men and women. Linklaters argues that the gap is due to more women working part time and 80% of junior and secretarial positions being held by women.

Pensions News

MPs find advisers 'shamelessly bamboozled’ steelworkers

FT Adviser – 15 February

A Work and Pensions Committee report into the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) has revealed that financial advisers have been exploiting steel workers and ill-advising them on what to do with their pensions. The FT Adviser has commented on the report and surrounding scandal in detail.

DWP says cold-calling ban to be enacted 'swiftly'; guidance will become default

Professional Pensions – 13 February

In a response to the Work and Pensions Committee's (WPC) report on the pension freedoms, published in December 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Treasury confirmed they would be working to implement a ban on cold calling as soon as possible. It has been revealed that £43 million has been lost to pension scams since 2014.

Government eyes landmark equal pension rights case

FT Adviser – 13 February

A legal case that has been ongoing for nearly thirty years is about to close and may be considered a landmark case on equal pension rights. The case is between Lloyds Bank and the Lloyds Trade Union and surrounds the defined benefit pension schemes and the unequal payments to people who contracted out of their state pension.

A million defined benefit transfers expected

FT Adviser – 8 February

Pensions consultants, Hymans Robertson, have predicted that one million people will transfer out of their defined benefit (DB) pensions in the next 25 years. Many individuals are taking advantage of the pensions freedoms that come with defined contribution (DC) pensions, and forecasts have suggested that 40,000 people per year will be ‘accessing their pension benefits’.

CISI survey reveals huge pensions education gap

The Review – 5 February

The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) has conducted a survey into pensions, which has revealed a large knowledge gap in many people, particularly those aged 18-24. According to the survey, 10% of 18-24s who work do not know what a pension is or how it works. More than three-quarters of respondents are unaware of how much money they have in their pension pot.


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