April Employment Law Updates

Changes to the law taking place in April

The new national minimum wage rates are now in operation, as are the new rates for statutory maternity pay and other family friendly rates. Other changes will also take place this month.

Also, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the number of employment tribunal claims has increased by 90% in the last year.

April’s employment law changes

In case you missed it, our article covers the employment law changes taking effect this month. These changes affect the national minimum wage, statutory rates such as statutory sick pay and statutory maternity pay, employment tribunal awards, pension auto enrolment contributions and the taxation of payments in lieu of notice. 

MoJ figures show significant increase in employment tribunal claims

The Ministry of Justice had reported that the total number of employment tribunal claims made in October to December 2017 has increased by 90 per cent on the same period last year.

There has also been a quarter-on-quarter increase with 16 per cent more claims received in the third quarter of 2017/18 compared to the second quarter. This represents a continuing increase in claims since the removal of employment tribunal fees in July 2017.

Of particular note was the increase in equal pay claims (up by 359 per cent) and unfair dismissal claims (up by 65 per cent).

EHRC calls for employers to take more action to prevent harassment

In a report compiled by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), several recommendations have been made which will, if taken up by the Government, completely change the focus of responsibility on employers to prevent harassment in the workplace.

The EHRC would like to see a legal duty placed on employers to prevent harassment by, amongst other things, being required to publish their anti-sexual harassment policy.

The report follows evidence gathered by the Trades Union Congress that over half of women had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in 2017.

Case law

The Court of Appeal has held that an ‘expectation’ to work longer hours did count as a ‘provision, criterion or practice’under the Equality Act 2010. An organisation had, therefore, failed to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee who was ‘expected’ to work late.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal clarified the scope of the disability provisions in the Equality Act 2010 in relation to a condition referred to as “pre-cancer”, holding that the condition was covered.

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