Looking ahead at 2018, it’s hard to see much under the cloud of Brexit, but with the actual date for the UK to leave the EU set for 2019, it’s unlikely that we will see much definitive change in the next 12 months. So whilst talks of Brexit will abound, let’s take a look at the changes to employment law that we can expect to come into effect, and what they will mean to you…

Modernising Work Practices

In November last year the Taylor Review was published. Conducted by political strategist Matthew Taylor, it looked at how we can bring the UK’s workplace practices up to date.

Examining aspects of employment such as the gig economy and flexible working, the Work and Pensions and BEIS committees have proposed a set of recommendations, most of which we can expect to see come in in 2018:

– Changes to legislation in order to clarify employment status.

– Automatic ‘worker’ status for all employees, with the onus on the employer to prove a ‘self-employed’ status.

– A new scheme to ensure those without guaranteed hours get paid a premium on top of the minimum wages.

– A gap in service of a month without breaking of an employment contract.

– Workers will receive a written statement of terms and conditions within a week instead of two months.

– Employers exploiting staff in terms of wages and employment status can have collective proceedings set against them by multiple employees.

Fines & Penalties

Due to high profile cases in the last 12 months levelled against the likes of UBER, we can expect to see a far stauncher approach taken to big businesses by the UK legal system.

With new legislation pertaining to fines, this will mean a change in practices for companies exploiting the gig economy.

Gender Identity

Gender identity was a topic increasingly discussed in 2017, as debate concerning the rights of the individual to choose how to describe their orientation courted controversy.

With the Transgender Equality 2016 report from the Women and Equalities Commission, and the Supporting Trans Employees in the Workplace 2017 report from ACAS, 2018 could be the year that we finally see changes to legislation and an increase in support for those who describe themselves as non-binary.

Here’s hoping.

Disability

The Courts of Appeal are due to hand down verdicts on two important cases relating to disabilities this year, which, in all likelihood, will lead to changes in the approach to disabilities in the workplace.

In the first case (Gallop v Newport City Council), the court will decide whether there can be discrimination on the grounds of disability if the employer didn’t know the victim in question was disabled.

The next case deals with how far an employer must go in order to ascertain whether an employee has a disability (Doneilen v Liberata UK Ltd).

With both outcomes likely to affect one another, it will be interesting to see how this changes the approach of UK businesses.

Dress Codes

Following the controversy surrounding Nicola Thorp back in 2015, who was sent home for wearing shoes that didn’t have high enough heels, a 152,000 strong petition sent the matter to parliament.

Since then the government has said that there will be changes made to the law concerning workplace dress codes, but that has yet to emerge. This could be the year though…

What will happen remains to be seen, but we can be sure that there are some landmark changes ahead.


 

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