Pursuant to Regulation 12 (1) of the WTR, workers are entitled to unpaid rest breaks of 20 minutes when working for more than 6 hours per day.
Whilst workers may be required to remain at work or in close proximity to their workplace while taking a rest break, they should not be required to perform any duties.
Where an employer has infringed a worker’s entitlements under the WTR, a worker is able to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal. An Employment Tribunal must make a declaration that the worker’s entitlements have been infringed and may make an award of compensation where the complaint is well-founded.
The amount of compensation is such as the Tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances.
Injury to feelings awards have historically been made under discrimination legislation and have also been available in whistleblowing detriment claims. Conversely, compensation for unfair dismissal and breach of contract does not include compensation for injury to feelings.
The new rates for 2018/2019 are as follows:
Maternity/Adoption pay prescribed rate (max)
Paternity pay (max)
Workplace absences can range from childcare responsibilities to work-related illness, however, according to a recent announcement by the Health and Safety Executive, the number of UK workers that suffered from mental health conditions which included work-related stress, depression and anxiety have risen by nearly 10% to 526,000 in the year 2016/2017.
The Health and Safety Executive estimates that mental health conditions account for an annual average of 12.5 million working days lost; a cost to the UK economy of between £33-£42 billion.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, meaning that, in a workforce of 40 people, 10 individuals may experience a mental health condition.
In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health condition such as anxiety and depression in any given week.
According to the statistics gathered by Mind, 7.8 people in 100 will suffer mixed anxiety and depression, whilst 5.9 in 100 people will suffer from a generalised anxiety disorder, and 3.3 in every 100 people will have to deal with an overall depressed state of being and mind.
It is alleged that the BBC forced presenters to form companies and treat themselves as freelancers, resulting in them being left with very little employment protection involving matters such as holiday or sick pay.
Kirsty Lang, presenter of the Art Programme Front Row since 2004, gave evidence to the Commons Cultural Committee in which she stated that all her worst fears came true when she was moved onto a new contract.
She stated that she was unable to take bereavement leave; “In fact, I went back and did my first show even before [her step-daughter’s] funeral, because I had to get some money in”.
She went on to state that “...and then two years after that, I was diagnosed with Cancer. I had surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. I worked the whole way through”.
In response to the comments made at the Commons Culture Committee, the BBC said in their statement that “they always try to balance our responsibility to presenters with our responsibility to suspend the licence fee appropriately”.
Currently, the UK relies on the Data Protection Act 1998, which was enacted following the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive. Some of the new regulations mirror those found under this Act, but as of May this year, all will be superseded by the new legislation. GDPR aims to introduce tougher fines for non-compliance and breaches and gives people more say over what companies can do with their data. It also makes data protection rules more or less identical throughout the EU.
Under Article 5 of the regulations it requires that personal data shall be:
Article 5(2) of the regulations requires that the controller should be responsible for, and be able to demonstrate compliance with the principles. So, in short, what does that all mean for you?
As a business, you must have a lawful basis in order to process personal data. Article 6 of the regulations sets out the lawful basis for processing data. At least one of these must apply whenever you process personal data. The lawful bases for processing data are:
You must determine the lawful basis (or base) before you begin processing and should document it, as well as the purposes for processing. Privacy notes should be updated in compliance with the new regulations.
From April 2018, taxation of redundancy payments in relation to payments in lieu of notice (PILON) will be changing. The general rule prior to this upcoming alteration was that if an employee’s contract did not contain a PILON clause, and it was not normal practice for the employer to make such payments, then notice could be made without deduction of income tax and national insurance contributions, as long as the sum falls under the tax free threshold of £30,000.
If the employment contract contained a PILON clause, then the notice sum was viewed as earnings and subject to the normal deductions for tax and national insurance contributions as one would expect.
From April 2018, all notice pay will be subject to both tax and national insurance contributions, regardless of the contractual provision. Employers should take note that this will also include bonuses, commission or any other monies that would have arisen during the notice period as set out in the contract of employment or service agreement. As such, employees and employers will not be able to utilise the tax-free threshold of £30,000 for such payments.
HMRC are likely to seek to recover the income tax and national insurance contributions together with penalties and interest owed, should employers seek to classify a PILON as non-taxable.
Where an employee and employer have entered into a settlement agreement, it is common to see a tax indemnity regarding the payment being made, i.e. that the employee is indemnifying the employer for any income tax or employee national insurance contributions, interest and penalties should HMRC determine that tax and/or national insurance is due in respect of the payments made.
It was uncovered that male international editors were earning more than Ms Gracie’s salary of £135,000 per year. In comparison, the BBC’s US Editor earned between £200,000 and £250,000 whilst the BBC’s Middle East Editor earned between £150,000 and £200,000.
When the BBC published the yearly salaries of staff that earned over £150,000 in July last year, women accounted for just a third of the BBC’s biggest earners, with only one woman in the top nine. Ms Gracie did not appear on the list.
Across the BBC, the average pay of men is 10% higher than women. The BBC has stated openly that it hopes to close the ‘Gender Pay Gap’ by 2020.
It is said that the UK Gender Pay Gap was 9.4% for full-time workers or 18.1% for all staff in 2016.
The office Christmas party is traditionally a time when employees are at their most relaxed; especially when the consumption of alcohol is on the cards. As a result of this, a number of potentially difficult issues can arise for employers.
Our Employment Solicitor Alex Pearce has rounded up his top tips for employers during the festive period to ensure that the Christmas cheer is evident for everyone.
The simple answer is maybe. Employers should give careful thought as to the reason why the individual was suspended in the first place. Does that reason justify said individual being required to remain away from the Christmas party which is, after all, a work social event? If the individual is in a customer-facing role and was suspended because of an external customer complaint, which was generally not related to his conduct, then the employer may have little or no grounds to justify asking the individual to stay away from a social event. Equally, if an allegation of harassment has been made, then it would be reasonable for the employer to take a view that the suspended employee shouldn’t attend the office Christmas party, or indeed attend any other social event connected with their employment.
Save from a limited number of claims, an individual who wishes to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal must first contact ACAS; this includes claims for the following disputes:
Ordinarily, it is for an employee to make contact with ACAS to initiate the process. It is, however, possible for an employer to initiate the process, should they wish to do so - there may well be times which it would be tactically advantageous for an employer to do so. Employers should note, however, that the time for the employee to issue a claim will not be stopped and there will be no extension of time.
Firstly, the employee will need to complete the ACAS Early Conciliation notification form which can be accessed online. Employees should considering using the employer’s appeal or grievance procedure, or letting such process runs its course before contacting ACAS, unless by doing so would result in the employee from being ‘out of time’.
Like with civil claims, there are time limits that both employees and employers should be aware of. For the majority of employment tribunal claims, the time limit is three months less one day. This is referred to as the limitation period.
The new advice published by Acas is geared towards assisting employers in supporting staff who have given birth to premature or ill babies, and employers are recommended to familiarise themselves with the new guidelines.
Advice for employers includes:
Acas has published a new research paper on supporting trans and intersex employees in the workplace.
The research paper covers the legal and policy issues when employing trans and intersex workers. It also considers barriers, challenges and suggestions for change.
Employment tribunal fees were first introduced in the summer of 2013; a ‘Type A’ claim (i.e. unlawful deduction from wages) had originally incurred an issue fee of £160.00 with a hearing fee of £230.00. For a ‘Type B’ claim (i.e. discrimination or unfair dismissal), the issue fee was £250.00 with a hearing fee of £950.00.
With fees being abolished, the UK is likely to see an increase in claims; it is expected that the figure will be between 60% and 80% based on the reduction in claims which followed employment tribunal fees being introduced initially.
We are also likely to witness workers who were not able to bring a claim initially, or that their case was dismissed by the employment tribunal for non-payment of the fee, seek for their claims to be reheard. The employment tribunal has confirmed that it will determine each application on its own merit.
With the above factors in mind, the government may take steps to put in place a fee structure which is more proportionate, although this remains to be seen given the government’s slim working majority.
Employers would often only consider settlement of a potential matter if the claimant essentially put their money where their mouth was and issued a claim. This can no longer be the case.
The Government has published its latest ‘name and shame’ list of 230 employers which have not complied with the rules on the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage.
It is estimated that companies will have to pay to their workers a record £2million in compensation claims, with up to 13,000 employees in line to receive some form of monetary reimbursement. One of the worst offenders on the list was the retailer Argos, who admitted in February they failed to pay the sum of 37,000 staff an average of £64 each.
The current rate for the National Living Wage is £7.50 per hour. The adult rate for National Minimum Wage is £7.05 for those aged between 21 and 24.
Employers should make sure that all workers are receiving the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage by doing the following:
The judgment by the Supreme Court overturned rulings in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal. Employment tribunal fees were first introduced in 2013 by the then coalition government. The issue fee for a ‘Type A’ claim, (for example, unlawful deductions from wages), was £160 with a hearing fee of £230. The issue fee for a ‘Type B’ claim (unfair dismissal or discrimination), was £250 with a hearing fee of £950. This led to various calls that the introduction of employment tribunal fees was a barrier to access to justice for many across the UK.
Statistics showed that the sudden arrival of tribunal fees resulted in the number of employment claims being issued falling by between 60% and 80%. It remains to be seen how employers will react to the removal of employment fees, although some employers have in the past commented that they too thought the level of employment tribunal fees prohibited employees from bringing claims and ultimately prevented access to justice.
It is also worthy to note that the Supreme Court confirmed that it was indirectly discriminatory to charge higher fees for a Type B claims (which ironically enough includes discrimination claims) than Type A claims.
It is understood that employment tribunals are now refusing to take payment if an ET1 is presented in person at one of the tribunals and that whilst the ET1 form online still requires a payment of a fee, this is in the process of being amended.
The Supreme Court does, however, recognise the important role that employment tribunal fees can play, but agrees that there needs to be a balance. Those that have already paid employment tribunal fees are to receive a refund, which is expected to cost in the region of £32million.
The review identifies seven steps towards fair and decent work with realistic scope for development and fulfilment and includes proposals for clarifying the law governing employment status and adjusting the scope of various employment protections.
One of the report’s key recommendations is that workers for firms such as Uber and Deliveroo should be classified as dependent contractors and receive extra benefits not normally witnessed as a self-employed individual. However, it does highlight that the distinction between ‘employees’ and ‘workers’ should stay. Further to this, the review states that there should be a clear distinction made between dependent contractors and those who are legitimately self-employed, as the regulations on this currently aren’t always entirely clear and can lead to substantive disputes.
Historically, there have been three categories of employment status: