An October Smorgasbord.

By Andrew Knorpel, Partner and Head of Employment

First of all, thank you to all those who attended our presentation last week on the implementation of the GDPR in the workplace, with an update on best practice for handling data subject access requests.  Of course, there’s always something new in employment law and practice, so after last month’s bulletin on the anti-tax evasion rules, this week’s bulletin signposts you to a number of recent developments across a variety of areas.

  • Following on from our focus on mental health earlier this year, Business in the Community has just published their Mental Health at Work Report 2017. The report shows that some progress has been made in addressing the concerns of previous years.  However, still only 24% of managers had received mental health training (compared to 22% last year).
  • The Home Office has updated its 2015 guidance on slavery and human trafficking in supply chains. By now many large organisations should have a modern slavery statement prominently displayed on their website and many smaller suppliers to those organisations will need to be in a position to explain how they deal with this issue.
  • When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on 25 May 2018, the need for a data controller to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of what processing they undertake will cease.  However, the ICO has confirmed that they will still have to pay a “data protection fee” under the new rules which will be used to fund the ICO.  The current proposal is for the fee payable (as of 1 April 2018) to be based on an organisation’s size, turnover and amount of personal data processed.
  • The Government has published a new Bill which will allow parents to take two weeks’ paid bereavement leave if they lose a child under the age of 18.  There will be no length of service qualification, although statutory parental bereavement pay will only be available to those with 26 weeks’ continuous service.
  • Acas has recently published new reports and guidance:
    on flexible working for parents returning to work
    on promoting positive mental health in the workplace
  • HMRC is currently investigating social care providers for underpayment of the national minimum wage in respect of “sleep-in” shifts.  However, the Government has recognised the difficulties posed to the sector by the cumulative financial liability for penalties and arrears of wages. As a result, it announced back in July 2017 that the financial penalties faced by employers found to have underpaid workers for “sleep-in” shifts would be waived in respect of arrears of pay resulting from shifts that took place before 26 July 2017.  Having previously also agreed to suspend enforcement activity in respect of “sleep-in” shifts (for employers in the social care sector only) until 2 October 2017, this has now been extended for another month.
  • In light of the recent case law expanding the amount of normal remuneration which should be paid as holiday pay, the Insolvency Service will now make payments to employees of insolvent employers inclusive of regular overtime and contractual commission.

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