Pay data: May 2015

Various research organisations have published data on average pay settlements for the three/four months to April 2015.

Queen’s Speech and HR

The Queen’s Speech opening the new Parliamentary session contained little of surprise as most of it had been well trailed beforehand (see ‘Employment law post-election’). Leaving aside the aspirational promises about cutting red tape, creating jobs, etc. here’s a summary of the main employment and HR-related measures, the details of which will inevitably have to await publication of the relevant Bills:

Exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts finally banned

Some two months after claiming that they had been banned, the government has finally acted to outlaw the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts from 26 May 2015. This and other employment law-related measures are contained in the first commencement order made under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. 

Discrimination law and TUPE

Can an employee who objects to his or her TUPE transfer (and does not transfer) bring a discrimination claim against the transferee on the basis of being a job ‘applicant’? No, but if the transferee is going to make redundancies, such an employee may be able to pursue a discrimination claim in relation to an offer of suitable alternative employment.
NHS Direct NHS Trust v Gunn

April 2015 inflation data

Consumer Prices Index inflation fell in the year to April 2015 to -0.1%. The detailed figures are as follows:

Overlapping disciplinary and grievance

An employer doesn’t automatically have to suspend an on-going disciplinary hearing just because the employee has raised a grievance.
Jinadu v Dockland Buses Ltd

Employment prospects continue to improve but wage growth remains subdued

Employers are optimistic on hiring intentions but basic pay is expected to grow by just 1.8% in the coming year according to the CIPD’s spring 2015 Labour Market Outlook.

Employment law post-election

Following the General Election, the direction of travel vis-à-vis UK employment law is pretty certain. The government will bring in various provisions of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and the Deregulation Act 2015, among them the ban on exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts. But it is Europe that looks set to dominate the agenda for the next few years. The Queen’s Speech on 27 May and the second Budget this year on 8 July could also include more employment-related measures. 

Evaluating learning and development initiatives still a real issue

Learning and development (L&D) professionals have work to do when it comes to aligning L&D strategy with business needs, evaluating the impact of L&D initiatives and grasping the nettle of new learning technologies. These are just some of the conclusions of the CIPD’s Learning and Development 2015.

Time spent carrying out union activities was ‘working time’

The time that two employees spent on trade union business in the workplace was ‘working time’ within the meaning of the Working Time Regulations 1998. Although their employer delayed the start of their shifts to reflect the time spent in the meetings this was not enough to ensure that they benefited from an uninterrupted 11-hour rest period.
Edwards v Encirc Ltd

Holiday pay tribunal decision to be appealed

Further uncertainty for employers grappling with the issue of holiday pay and commission payments now beckons with the news that tribunal decision in Lock v British Gas Trading is to be appealed.

Collective redundancy consultation – ‘as you were’

The European Court of Justice has endorsed the orthodox and generally understood position as regards an employer’s consultation duties were mass redundancies are involved. This effectively reverses a controversial EAT decision which required consultation where when 20 or more employees were to be dismissed as redundant - irrespective of where they worked.
USDAW v WW Realisation 1 Ltd and Ethel Austin Ltd
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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Pensions - will higher-rate tax relief remain?

At first glance it may appear that a return to one-party government will make predictions in this space somewhat easier. Yet that may only be part of the story, as the government may well now need to revisit some of its pre-election promises in light of a win that even they did not really expect.

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