In today’s constantly changing world, staying up-to-date on employment law changes can feel like a full-time job. Employment laws can vary between countries and regions only adding to the challenge. Knowing and complying with the latest legislation allows you, as an employer, to create a positive work environment and ultimately attract the best and brightest candidates.

Since the start of 2018, there have been a number of changes and landmark cases. Some of the big issues thus far have included gender pay gap reporting, the gig economy and how we define “employees”, enquiries into sexual discrimination in the workplace, and changes to the childcare voucher scheme.

Whether you’re well versed on these subjects or only have a general understanding, it’s essential to fully grasp how the latest employment legal changes might impact you and your workers. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

This September we’ll be hosting a breakfast seminar to update you on some of the hottest employment law subjects. Katy Wedderburn, a specialist in employment law, will join us to discuss key issues affecting employers and employees. We’ll provide the most recent updates on these “hot” subjects and identify ways to help you make a difference within your workplace.

What Issues Will We Discuss?

#MeToo Movement

While the #MeToo Movement is mainly known in connection to the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, it has uncovered sexual abuse within almost every industry. This campaign aims to highlight the prevalence of sexual discrimination within the workplace and asked victims of sexual abuse to retweet the #MeToo hashtag. After being tweeted by Melissa Milano on October 15th 2017, this hashtag was retweeted over 500,000 times within the space of one day – uncovering sexual abuse in many workplaces.

With such widespread attention, this movement was hard to ignore and sparked conversations about how to handle and prevent sexual abuse and discrimination. Employers will undoubtedly need to respond by making significant changes to the workplace including examining gender pay gaps, enhancing sexual harassment policies and consequences for violations, and disclosing diversity statistics.

While the #MeToo movement initially began in the USA, it has impacted the entire world. Allegations of sexual abuse have led to some of the world’s most prominent media, religious, and political leaders stepping down or to their dismissals. The #MeToo Movement not only indicates issues within the workplace but also reveals broader issues with social norms and our reactions towards sexual abuse victims.

It’s important to consider any changes that could be made within your workplace to prevent sexual abuse and discrimination. At our breakfast seminar, we’ll discuss the #MeToo Movement’s most recent developments, explore what it means for you, and encourage you to think about ways to elicit change for an equal society.

Working Time Cases

The current Working Time Regulations, which govern how many hours a week employees can work and the required amount of rest breaks, date back to 1998. However, the last 20 years have seen radical change to how people prefer to work. Long gone are the days of working 9 to 5. Today, our workforce works a variety of hours and schedules from a variety of locations.

Timewise estimates that 4 million people in the UK work from home while 8.7 full-time employees want to work flexibly. Despite this staggering figure, employees feel unsure how to ask or find flexible work arrangements. Timewise also reported that 9 in 10 employers are open to the idea of flexible working. As it becomes easier to request flexible schedules, regulations around working hours will need to adapt.

Recently questions have arisen around working time regulations and flexible schedules; specifically in regards to zero hour contracts. Zero hour contracts arguably offer the greatest flexibility as workers can choose their own schedule. Yet, are workers on zero hour contracts or sessional workers entitled to the same rights as full-time employees like holiday or sick pay? Should sleepover workers, workers that cover night shifts but are allowed to sleep, be paid minimum wage or a flat rate?

At our breakfast seminar, Katy Wedderburn will explore these questions and provide you with updates on the latest working time legislation. Staying up-to-date on working time regulations means that you’ll be able to respect your workers’ rights and ensure that all employees are treated (and paid) fairly.

Worker Status

Perhaps one of the hottest employment topics of 2017/2018 has been the gig economy. Over the last year, the gig economy has gained significant media attention following landmark cases against corporate giants like Uber, CitySprint, UK Express Delivery, Deliveroo and Pimlico Plumbers. With over 1.1 million gig workers within the UK economy, the verdicts of these legal cases could radically change the gig economy.

These cases centre primarily around the question of whether these gig workers are genuinely self-employed or workers entitled to fundamental rights like sick and holiday pay and minimum wage?

The case against Pimlico Plumbers was taken all the way to the Supreme Court and is one of the most recent gig economy cases to receive a verdict. Pimlico Plumbers hired “self-employed” plumbers yet required them to wear a company uniform and lease a company van branded with the company’s logo and equipped with a GPS.

After suffering a heart attack, Gary Smith submitted a request to reduce his work hours at Pimlico from five days a week to three. As an employee, Mr Smith would have received sick pay, protection against discrimination, and the option for flexible work. As a gig worker, Pimlico refused his request and took away his van meaning that he was now unable to work. Was this an unfair dismissal? Was Mr Smith entitled to workers’ rights? Or was Pimlico Plumbers justified in their actions?

Join us as we explore the Supreme Court’s decision and what it means for the overall gig economy. We’ll also discuss the broader issues within the gig economy and how workers are classified.

Register Today

We’re very excited to be hosting such an interesting and informative event. Join us on September 4th at 8 am at our Edinburgh office or September 12th at 8 am at our Glasgow office. Places are limited so register today while seats are still available.We look forward to seeing you there!