Key Employment Law Developments: Q3 2018

Key Employment Law Developments: Q3 2018

Employment Law Director at Peninsula, Alan Price, gives us his top employment law developments to watch out for over the next few months.

By Alan Price

2018 has already proven to be a diverse year within employment, with the implementation of the GDPR, alongside published gender pay gap figures, continuing to encourage significant updates to day-to-day business operations. Heading into the summer, it is therefore essential that you remain up-to-date with ongoing developments and how these will likely affect your approach to business management. 

Trade Secrets Directive

As of 9 June, all EU member states have had to adopt the Trade Secrets Directive, which aims to protect against unlawful acquisition, use, or disclosure of trade secrets. Introduced on the heels of the GDPR, the Directive outlines a uniform definition of a trade secret as any information that has commercial value because it is secret and if it has been subjected to ‘reasonable steps’ to maintain its secrecy.

In order to meet the provisions of the Directive, it is essential that an employer ensures the protection of information they feel should be classed as a trade secret, which includes limiting access, revising employee contracts, and dealing with breaches. A company that fails to prove it took such steps could lose protection afforded by the Directive and risk confidential information being compromised.

The Taylor Review

In response to the Taylor Review on modern employment practices, which was published in July 2017, the government recently held a number of consultations on key issues raised within the review, which includes one on the hot topic of employment status. This aims to improve clarity and certainty in assessing an individual’s employment status, and associated remuneration rights, in light of the emerging gig economy. The outcome of all four consultation exercises is expected to be released within the next few months and could lead to various legislative changes to improve rights for millions of workers.

Tribunal Fees

July 2018 will also mark the one-year anniversary since the abolishment of tribunal fees, which has already resulted in a significant increase in over 90% of claims made during the period. The huge increase in claims has forced the recruitment of 54 new Employment Judges to work through the backlog. Employers should therefore remain aware of the greater risk of being taken to Employment Tribunal now that the financial barrier no longer exists and consider taking additional steps to prevent avoidable tribunal claims

Getting Paid to Sleep?

Employers who operate within the care and hospitality industries should also aim to keep regularly updated on the impending decision in Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake. The case concerns a night-shift worker at a care home who is claiming that the hours during which she was permitted to sleep at night are working hours and therefore should attract the National Minimum Wage. The Employment Appeal Tribunal has already found in her favour but the case is now under deliberation by the Court of Appeal. A further finding in her favour could mean costly changes for employers who operate sleep in shifts. 

About Peninsula

For over 35 years, Peninsula has provided vital services to small businesses in the UK, on everything from employment law to HR. Fleximize has partnered with Peninsula to give its community of business owners access to comprehensive and cost-effective support.