Employment Law Update: Quick fire – January 2018
25 January 2018
Changes to DBS checks, gender pay gap reporting, Uber ‘leapfrog’ appeal refused, latest ET statistics published, and the Best Employer Eastern Region 2018 are covered in this month’s Quick fire!
Changes to DBS checks
The government has announced changes to the process for individuals applying for a basic criminal records check. From January 2018, applicants in England and Wales should apply directly to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for a basic disclosure certificate. Previously, such applications were all handled by Disclosure Scotland, which will only deal with applications from Scotland with effect from 17 January 2018.
The DBS will also be making available a new online application form for a basic disclosure certificate.
Further information on the changes is available here.
Gender pay gap reporting
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published its draft gender pay gap reporting enforcement strategy.
The gender pay gap reporting regulations have been widely criticised for not including any enforcement provisions, meaning that some employers may opt to not fully (or accurately) comply with the requirement to report on their gender pay gap. However, the EHRC has confirmed that it proposes to use its wider powers of enforcement, under the Equality Act 2006, to ensure compliance with the reporting requirement.
The draft strategy suggests that the EHRC will initially adopt an informal approach by engaging with employers. It will investigate suspected breaches of the regulations, and employers who refuse to enter into a formal agreement to comply may be issued with unlawful act notices. Ultimately, employers who fail to comply with the reporting duty could be issued with an unlimited fine. Whether the EHRC has sufficient resources in place to effectively carry out these enforcement measures, however, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has published a new toolkit for employers, in conjunction with the CIPD, to provide guidance on what actions employers can take to close the gender pay gap in their workplace.
Have you published your gender pay gap report yet? Request your free copy of Birketts’ practical guide on how to comply with this duty and carry out the necessary calculations.
Uber ‘leapfrog’ appeal refused
Following last year’s decision from the EAT that Uber drivers are ‘workers’, it was anticipated that the company would seek to ‘leapfrog’ the Court of Appeal and apply for permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
It has since been reported that the request for leave to appeal directly to the Supreme Court has been refused. The Court of Appeal will, therefore, hear Uber’s appeal, most likely in late 2018.
Latest ET statistics published
In December, the Ministry of Justice published the latest quarterly tribunal statistics for the period from July to September 2017. Compared with the same period from 2016, the number of claims lodged by a single applicant has increased by 64%, the highest figure for four years. This can be explained by the abolition of tribunal fees following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Unison case.
The Justice Select Committee heard evidence on the subject of employment tribunal fees at its meeting on 19 December 2017. In his evidence, Dominic Raab MP (then Minister of State, Ministry of Justice) strongly hinted that the government would be looking at the re-introduction of fees after analysing the court’s detailed findings in the Unison case. However, no timescale for this was given and it is unlikely to happen in the near future.
This article is from the January 2018 issue of Employment Law, our monthly newsletter on employment legislation and regulation. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. Law covered as at January 2018.
To keep up-to-date with the latest news, legal updates and seminar information, please register and select the areas that are of interest to you.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at January 2018.