May 2017 has been an interesting month in the world of employment law with more gig economy news; confirmation that a three-month gap breaks a series of wages deductions; and a Supreme Court decision on the calculation of deductions from striking workers’ pay.
Here we provide a helpful overview.
Holiday Pay – The EAT has confirmed that a three-month gap between underpayments of wages breaks a “series of deductions”, limiting the scope to make retrospective claims for unpaid holiday pay under the unlawful deduction from wages jurisdiction. By doing this, the EAT has affirmed the decision of Mr Justice Langstaff in 2014 in the widely publicised case of Bear Scotland Ltd v Fulton and another  IRLR 15.
Gig Economy – There has been a report published by The Work and Pensions Committee into the growth of self-employed workers in the gig economy. It concludes that many companies are using self-employed workers as cheap labour while excusing themselves of responsibilities towards workers. Recommendations in the report are that national insurance contributions are equalised, self-employed people are encouraged to save for pensions and the default position should be that individuals have the status of workers.
Discrimination – Aspergers has been at the forefront of a recent EAT decision. The EAT has upheld the decision of an employment tribunal that a job applicant with this condition required to undertake a multiple choice test suffered indirect discrimination when the employer refused to make an adjustment to the format of the test.
Employment Appeal Tribunal – The EAT refused to exercise its discretion to extend the time limit. This was where an appeal was submitted an hour late.
Supreme Court – The Supreme Court held that an employer was wrong to deduct 1/260 of an employee’s annual salary, rather than 1/365, when its employees went on strike. The employees were employed on annual contracts and it was accepted that the employees, who were teachers, regularly worked outside of their contracted hours, including weekends and holidays. The court made the point that a critical feature of the case was that the contracts in question were annual ones. Had they not been, the position of the court would have been “very different”.
Whistleblowing – The Court of Appeal has decided that, in a whistleblowing dismissal case, it was irrelevant that an employer genuinely believed an employee’s disclosure was not protected. A disclosure will be protected if it meets the statutory conditions in Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and this is an objective test.
Farleys Solicitors LLP specialise in a commercial employment law & HR for businesses. Advice and support includes employee exits, settlement agreements, contracts of employment, staff handbooks, directors service agreements, apprentices, equal pay, holiday pay, recruitment, restructures, disciplinaries, grievances, discrimination and whistleblowing disputes; and Employment Tribunal defence and representation.
If you require any assistance with any of the above please contact Farleys Employment Law & HR team on 0845 287 0939 or email us here.