Here is a list of ongoing consultations and legislation that is to be introduced.
Consultation on confidentiality clauses – closes 29 April 2019
The BBIES has published a consultation on proposals to regulate the use of confidentiality clauses (also known as “non-disclosure agreements”), due to concern that these clauses are being used to silence victims of unlawful harassment or discrimination. The consultation seeks views on measures to limit their misuse, including: by making it clear that victims cannot be prevented by a clause in an employment contract or settlement agreement from speaking to the police or reporting a crime; by requiring all confidentiality clauses to set out which disclosures are not prohibited by a confidentiality clause; by making confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements that do not comply with wording requirements void; and by extending the scope of independent advice that a worker must receive before signing a settlement agreement to include advice on the limits of any confidentiality clause.
Low Pay Commission consults on national minimum wage – closes 7 June 2019
The Low Pay Commission (LPC) consults on the national minimum wage to assist it in compiling its report for the Government on future upratings of the national minimum wage. In particular, it is seeking evidence on the viability of the stated target of the national living wage of 60% of median earnings by 2020, which on the current forecast would be £8.67. It is also seeking views on the impact of increases in the national living wage since its introduction on workers, employers, the labour market and the economy, and on how the economic outlook is affected by the process of leaving the EU.
For the other minimum wage rates, for those aged under 25 and apprentices, it is seeking evidence on the impact of the national minimum wage rates on employment prospects. It is particularly interested to hear evidence on the impact of the rates on the job prospects of young workers and on how widely the rate for workers aged 21 to 24 is used.
The consultation also explores issues around compliance and enforcement, including: whether or not the national living wage has affected compliance and enforcement; the quality and accessibility of the official guidance on the national minimum wage; and what more could be done to improve compliance.
Finally, the LPC seeks views on the accommodation offset, such as the extent to which it is protecting low-paid workers and what, if any, difference increases in the rate since 2013 have made to the provision of accommodation.
Implementation of an exit payments cap – closes 3 July 2019
HM Treasury has published their further consultation on the implementation of an exit payments cap.
Exit payments at the ending of employment, including redundancy, are used to help implement change eg through restructuring or how services are resourced. The government is concerned about the number of exit payments made to public sector workers that exceed, or come close to, £100,000 and want such payments to be proportionate and fair to the taxpayer.
The consultation document sets out the proposed draft regulations, schedule to the regulations, accompanying guidance and directions.
The LGA intends to produce a briefing on the consultation and in time a full response ahead of the deadline in July. They are interested in any views or evidence that you have as local authorities, to inform their views, and also whether or from Regional Employers and individual authorities are minded to respond.
Pensions protections for local government workers – closed 4 April 2019
The government has launched a consultation on reforms to ensure local government workers whose roles are compulsorily transferred to independent providers, retain the right to remain in the Local Government Pension Scheme. This New Fair Deal is long awaited and should make it much easier for non-local government employers to become employers within the LGPS to ensure employee who are or who previously transferred out of local government where the contract is being retendered.
Consultation on extending redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents – closed 5 April 2019
The DBIES consults on extending the period of protection against redundancy to pregnant women and new parents returning to work after having children, with the aim of tackling discrimination in the workplace due to childbirth. The government seeks views on whether or not the right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancy afforded during the maternity leave period should be extended for a certain period on return to work and, if so, whether or not six months is an appropriate period. It is also considering extending the protection to pregnant mothers for a period before maternity leave. In addition, the consultation invites views on whether or not the same protection should be extended to other types of leave, such as adoption leave, shared parental leave and longer periods of parental leave.
Consultation on salaried workers and salary-sacrifice schemes – closed 1 March 2019
The government consults on proposed changes to the national minimum wage rules regarding salaried workers and on the operation of salary-sacrifice schemes. Certain conditions must be met for work to qualify as salaried hours work under the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/621). The government explores how effective these rules are in preventing worker exploitation. It seeks views on proposed amendments to the regulations to include additional payment cycles and fixing the definition of the calculation year for employers. The consultation also explores the practical operation of salary-sacrifice schemes and their effect on workers on the minimum wage.
Consultation on strategy for supporting veterans – closed 21 February 2019
The government consults on its long-term strategy for supporting veterans, including steps that can be taken to improve their employability after military life. One of the consultation’s key themes is employment, education and skills, which explores how veterans navigate recruitment processes and translate their experiences for non-military employers. In particular, the consultation asks employers about the skills and support veterans need to prepare them for civilian employment and what potential barriers there are to veterans sustaining employment.
Consultation on ethnicity pay reporting – Closed 11 January 2019
The Government consults on the possibility of introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting for large employers. The consultation explores: which employers could be covered by the obligation; what ethnicity pay data could be reported; and what supporting information (for example a narrative or action plan) employers would have to provide. The consultation also looks at the challenges around collecting, analysing and reporting ethnicity pay information in a meaningful way, including the absence of legal obligations for individuals to disclose their ethnic group or for employers to collect ethnicity information.
Consultation on labour market enforcement strategy for 2019/20 – closed 28 September 2018
The Government consults on the issues on which the director of labour market enforcement would like to receive evidence to inform his strategy for 2019/20, which is due for publication in 2019. In particular, the consultation is seeking views on the enforcement of labour market regulations within the hotel, restaurants and food services, and warehousing sectors.
Consultation on corporate governance principles for large private companies – closed 7 September 2018
The Financial Reporting Council consults on new corporate governance principles: The Wates corporate governance principles for large private companies. The proposed principles are intended to align with the introduction of new reporting requirements, due to come into force from 1 January 2019, that require large companies to disclose in a statement as part of their director’s report, and publish on their website, information on the corporate governance code or arrangements they applied in the relevant financial year. There are six draft principles of corporate good practice, such as undertaking effective engagement, including with the workforce, and promoting executive remuneration structures aligned to sustainable long-term success of the company, taking into account pay and conditions elsewhere in the company.
Consultation on changes to intermediaries legislation (IR35) for the private sector – closed 10 August 2018
HMRC & HM Treasury consult on reform to the intermediaries legislation, commonly known as IR35, with the aim of tackling the avoidance of payment of employment taxes by individuals in the private sector who work through intermediaries, primarily their own personal service company. It seeks views on the existing challenges faced in complying with the off-payroll working rules and sets out the options to improve compliance, including extending the reforms to the rules introduced in the public sector from 6 April 2017 to the private sector.
Call for evidence on improving business productivity – closed 6 July 2018
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a call for evidence seeking views on how best to improve output in businesses with low productivity, with the focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Raising productivity is one of the Government’s key priorities and core to its industrial strategy. The call for evidence seeks to gather information on the decisions taken at individual business level that may impact on productivity and growth.
Consultation on draft guidance in relation to the tax exemption for workplace electric charging facilities – closed 5 July 2018
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs consults on draft guidance in relation to the tax exemption for employer-provided electric charging facilities for electric and hybrid vehicles. The draft guidance provides that the exemption from tax applies where there are dedicated electric vehicle charging points at the employer’s premises and they are provided to employees generally.
Consultation on enforcing data protection legislation – closed 28 June 2018
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) consults on a draft policy to help organisations understand how it will enforce breaches of data protection legislation. The draft policy explains how the ICO will use its powers, including by issuing enforcement and penalty notices, and how it will set the amount of any financial penalties. Organisations that fail to comply with data protection rules may be subject to a fine of up to £17 million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is higher, in cases of the most serious data breaches.
Consultation on taxation of self-funded work-related training – closed 8 June 2018
HM Treasury consults on changes to the rules on tax relief for employers that reimburse employees who have paid for work training themselves. The Government is exploring amendments to the rules to: focus on supporting good quality training for those who want to retrain for a change of career; simplify the process for getting tax relief; and minimise the risk of misuse of the tax relief on recreational activities or for other personal purposes.
Consultation on parental bereavement leave and pay – closed 8 June 2018
The Government consults on proposals to inform its Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, which provides two weeks’ paid leave for bereaved parents. It seeks views on, among other things, who should be entitled to statutory bereavement leave, how and when the leave should be taken and what kind of notice and evidence of entitlement should be required.
Consultation on employment status in the modern labour market – closed 1 June 2018
HMRC, HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consult on the options proposed in the Taylor review of modern working practices for providing employers with more clarity when determining employment status, bearing in mind the realities of the modern labour market. Options discussed include the codification of the current case law and updating of employment status tests to reflect modern working relationships.
Consultation on national minimum wage rates for April 2019 – closed 1 June 2018
The Low Pay Commission consults on the effects of recent increases in the national minimum wage, to inform its recommendations for the April 2019 rates. The consultation also explores a number of wider issues, including the potential impact of a “premium” minimum wage for hours that are not “guaranteed” (as recommended by the Taylor review of modern working practices) and the structure of the minimum wage age bands.
Consultation on increasing transparency in the labour market – closed 23 May 2018
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consults on the recommendations in the Taylor review of modern working practices for achieving greater transparency and clarity between workers and employers in the labour market. Recommendations discussed include extending the right to a written statement of terms and conditions to workers as well as employees and increasing the holiday pay reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks.
Consultation on enforcement of employment rights – closed 16 May 2018
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consults on the recommendations in the Taylor review of modern working practices on the enforcement of employment rights. The consultation discusses: plans to simplify the enforcement process for employment tribunal awards; a “naming and shaming” scheme for employers that do not pay tribunal awards within a reasonable time; and aggravated breach penalties and cost orders for employers that have already lost an employment status case on broadly comparable facts.
Consultation on increasing protection for agency workers – closed 9 May 2018
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consults on the recommendations in the Taylor review of modern working practices regarding agency workers. The consultation discusses increasing the transparency of contractual arrangements for agency workers and how the remit of the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate could be extended to monitor umbrella companies or other third-party intermediaries.
Consultation on revised UK corporate governance code – closed 28 February 2018
The Financial Reporting Council consults on a revised UK corporate governance code. The proposed revised code is shorter and focuses on long-term success and sustainability, increased public trust in listed companies and the attractiveness of UK capital markets to global investment during the Brexit negotiations and thereafter. It sets out good practice so that boards can: align a company’s purpose, strategy and values with its business culture; undertake effective engagement with wider stakeholders, to improve trust and achieve mutual benefit, and to have regard to wider society; gather the views of the workforce; ensure appointments to boards and succession plans are based on merit and objective criteria; take steps when they encounter shareholder opposition to any resolution, including in relation to executive pay policies and awards; and strengthen the role of remuneration committees.
Consultation on draft ICO guidance in relation to processing data on children – closed 28 February 2018
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) consults on draft guidance intended to help data controllers understand their responsibilities under the General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679 EU) (GDPR) when processing personal data relating to children. The draft guidance sits alongside the ICO’s Overview of the GDPR and provides more detailed, practical guidance on collecting and processing personal data on children. The GDPR comes into effect on 25 May 2018.
Consultation on enforcing gender pay gap reporting – closed 2 February 2018
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) consults on a draft policy to enforce gender pay gap reporting requirements for public-, private- and voluntary-sector employers. The policy explains how the EHRC will use its powers, including by investigating suspected breaches and issuing compliance notices. Employers that refuse to comply may be subject to a summary conviction and an unlimited fine.
Consultation on promoting professionalism and reforming regulation in the healthcare sector – closed 23 January 2018
The Department of Health and Social Care consults on reforms to the regulation of healthcare professionals. The aim is to produce a flexible model of professional regulation that promotes public trust, fosters professionalism and improves clinical practice, while also being adaptable to future developments in healthcare. Areas on which the consultation seeks views include: the advantages and disadvantages of having fewer regulatory bodies; whether or not the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care should take on an advisory role in relation to which groups of healthcare professionals should be regulated; and whether or not to give regulatory bodies the power to handle fitness to practise rules in a more proportionate way.
Regulations on executive pay ratio reporting introduced – 1 January 2019
The draft Companies (Miscellaneous Reporting) Regulations 2018 introduce new reporting requirements on certain quoted and companies, with regards to CEO and director remuneration. The reporting requirements under the draft Regulations will apply in respect of financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2019. Therefore, the first reporting will start in 2020.
Technical amendments to employment law to ensure smooth Brexit take effect – To Be Confirmed
The Government introduces legislation to ensure that employment laws continue to operate effectively on the day the UK leaves the EU. The legislation makes minor technical changes, including amending and removing inappropriate language and references.
The Government has published:
- draft Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018;
- draft Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No.2) Regulations 2018;
- draft Insolvency (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018;
- draft Employment Rights (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018; and
- draft Employment Rights (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) (No.2) Regulations 2018.
National Minimum Wage and Statutory Rates increase – April 2019
Change to tax treatment of termination payments above £30,000 introduced – 6 April 2019 – postponed until April 2020
Employers will be liable to pay Class 1A national insurance contributions on termination payments above £30,000 that are subject to income tax by the employee. The new measure will be introduced in the National Insurance Contributions Bill.
Requirement for payslips to state hours worked where pay varies – 6 April 2019
The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018 (SI 2018/147) provides that, where an employee’s pay varies by reference to time worked, employers must include the number of hours for which the employee is being paid on his or her itemised pay statement. The change is designed to make it easier for hourly paid staff to ensure that they are paid correctly and to address underpayments. The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2018 (SI 2018/529) extends the right to an itemised pay statement to workers, which will result in a corresponding right to receive information on the number of hours being paid for in their payslips where pay varies by reference to time worked.
Increase in holiday reference period from 12 weeks to 52 weeks – 6 April 2020
The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378) increase the reference period used for determining a week’s pay when calculating holiday pay for workers with irregular hours from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. The Government’s Good work plan states that the changes will allow greater flexibility for workers in choosing when to take holiday, particularly for those in seasonal or atypical roles that limit some workers from benefiting from their full holiday pay entitlement.
Abolition of the Swedish derogation relating to pay for agency workers – 6 April 2020
The draft Agency Workers (Amendment) Regulations 2019 abolish the Swedish derogation, which gives employers the ability to pay agency workers less than their own workers in certain circumstances. Under the derogation, agency workers can exchange their right to be paid the same as directly recruited employees for a contract guaranteeing pay between assignments. The Government’s Good work plan, published on 17 December 2018, highlights the misuse of the derogation by some employers. The legislation banning this type of contract is intended to prevent agency workers losing out on their equal pay rights.
Reduction to threshold for a request to set up Information and Consultation Arrangements – 6 April 2020
The draft Employment Rights (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 decrease the threshold required for a valid request to set up information and consultation arrangements under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3426) from 10% to 2% of employees. The requirement for the request to be made by a minimum of 15 employees remains in place.
Parental bereavement leave rights take effect – expected April 2020
The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill provides at least two weeks’ leave for employees following the loss of a child under the age of 18. Employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to paid leave at the statutory rate and other employees will be entitled to unpaid leave.
New legislation to allow organisations to monitor use of IT systems for legitimate business reasons – to be confirmed
The Investigatory Powers (Interception by Businesses etc for Monitoring and Record-keeping Purposes) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/356) provide that organisations and public bodies may lawfully intercept communications being sent via their telecommunications systems for certain legitimate business activities. These activities include establishing whether or not staff using the organisation’s telecommunications system are achieving the standards required by the company in the course of their duties. The Regulations are designed to replace (and largely mirror) the Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2699).
The Children and Social Work Act 2017 includes a provision that enables regulations to be made to provide protection for applicants when applying for a role that relates to the children’s social care functions of a local authority. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that applicants are not discriminated against because they have previously made a protected disclosure. A local authority (or other relevant employer) discriminates against an applicant if the applicant is refused a job or he or she is treated less favourably in some other way in relation to the application because of having made a protected disclosure.
Income tax personal allowance linked to national minimum wage – to be confirmed
Any increase in the income tax personal allowance will take into account national minimum wage increases to ensure that workers on the national minimum wage working up to 30 hours per week do not pay income tax.
Public-sector exit payments become repayable – to be confirmed
Section 154 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 provides for regulations to be made to require the repayment of exit payments made to public sector workers. The draft Repayment of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2016 provide that employees in the public sector with annual earnings of £80,000 or more must repay exit payments where they return to work in the public sector within one year of leaving.
Public-sector exit payments capped – to be confirmed
The draft Public Sector Exit Payment Regulations 2016 provide that exit payments to public-sector workers are capped at £95,000. Many payments made in connection with loss of office are covered.
Caste discrimination prohibited – to be confirmed
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 prescribes that the Government must add “caste” to the definition of “race” under the Equality Act 2010. The Government has yet to introduce legislation to prohibit caste discrimination under s.9(5) of the Equality Act 2010.