Employment law issues employers are set to face in 2018

(1)  General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

By now, everyone should have a basic awareness on what GDPR represents and what this means going forward. The GDPR is a regulation implemented by the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission and is intended to unify and strengthen data protection for all individuals operating within Europe.

These regulations are set to come into force across Europe on the 25th May 2018. It is advised that employers use the time before this date reviewing their current documentation and practices to determine how they are currently processing data and confirm whether this is in line with GDPR or not.

It is crucial that employers get this right as the consequences of non-compliance can be potentially devastating for a business, with the maximum fine being 20million or 4% of annual turnover. It has been reported that Uber would have been fined 17.5million for its recent data protection breach.

(2)  Tribunal claims set to increase

Following the abolishment of tribunal fees in July 2017, there has been strong evidence produced suggesting that the number of single claims issued in the UK has increased significantly. Whilst this change in legislation was an unbelievable victory for Unison and employees throughout the UK, going forward, employers will now need to be extra cautious to avoid any risks of being served with an Employment Tribunal complaint.

(3)  Employment Status

The controversary surrounding employment status and companies like Uber and Pimlico Plumbers have continuously dominated the employment law headlines in 2017.

Status will continue as a major issue in 2018. Uber have applied to hear their case heard in the Supreme Court and following the decision made in the Pimlico Plumbers case, that a plumber was in fact a worker under legislation, has been appealed and is scheduled to be heard in the Supreme Court in February.

The Government was expected to respond to the recommendations set out by Matthew Taylor in the Review of Modern Employment Practices by the end of 2017. However, it was reported at the beginning of December that this would be pushed back due to other Government priorities. Therefore, employers will have to sit tight and wait on confirmation of employment status in 2018.

(4)  Sleep in shifts

The case of Esparon v Slavikovska established where there are minimum staffing level requirements that require workers to be on site, they should be paid national minimum wage.

This area of law is predicted to continue as an area of concern for care sector employers in 2018. Employers should consider whether staff are paid in lump sums for overnight shifts or whether their shift is likely to amount to “working time.”

The Government publicly warned that many care sector workers should have been paid at least the national minimum wage for the hours they were sleeping on an overnight shift. It has since been submitted that many of them will be able to claim up to 6 years back-pay.

On recognising the uncertainty around this area, the Government introduced the Social Care Compliance Scheme. This allows employers to voluntary sign up and review their sleep-in payments and reimburse any underpayments to avoid any further action.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?

If you require employment law advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or any other employment issue give us a call today on 0370 218 5662.  You can also find out more about our fixed fee HR packages here and fixed fee employment law packages here, or get in touch.

Please note, the information in this article is for guidance purposes only and it is therefore advised that employers seek legal advice before embarking on any enforcement action.