Lewis Silkin


Lewis Silkin is widely recognised as a leading specialist employment law practice. Our team of over 100 UK lawyers includes 23 partners. Clients range from large corporations and PLCs to entrepreneurs, and include those in a variety of sectors including advertising and marketing, media and entertainment, retail, hospitality & leisure, technology, professional services, financial services and sports business. Lewis Silkin is the UK member of Ius Laboris, the world’s leading HR practice, and is also the UK representative of the Global Advertising Lawyers' Alliance (GALA), an international alliance of lawyers with expertise in advertising and marketing law.


Employment & Benefits

Court of Appeal confirms that discrimination because of perceived disability is unlawful
United Kingdom | 21 August 2019

The Court of Appeal recently found that it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of a mistaken perception that they have a progressive condition which would make them unable to perform the full functions of a role in future. This decision confirms that the test is not whether the discriminator believes that the impairment meets the legal definition of 'disability', but whether they believe that it has those features. However, beyond this point, the case has raised some difficult issues.

European Union adopts work-life balance directive: will UK employers need to comply?
United Kingdom | 14 August 2019

The EU Work-Life Balance Directive introduces new rights for carers and working parents. If the United Kingdom needs to comply (or if it chooses to do so), UK employers must make several changes to their existing family leave and pay framework. For example, although the United Kingdom provides a right to paternity leave and pay, both rights are currently subject to a six-month service requirement. To comply with the directive, the service requirement for paternity leave (although not pay) would need to be scrapped.

Court of Appeal decides unions have no veto during collective bargaining
United Kingdom | 31 July 2019

The Court of Appeal recently ruled that offers made directly by an employer to its employees in relation to pay and working hours did not amount to an unlawful attempt to bypass collective bargaining contrary to Section 145B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. As such, a cautious approach remains sensible given the punitive fines if an employer goes too far in its offers to employees.

IR35 – what is changing and what you need to do
United Kingdom | 24 July 2019

The government is committed to cracking down on disguised employment. In order to achieve this, the IR35 rules will change from April 2020. The IR35 rules apply where contractors personally provide services via an intermediary. However, if the contractor is directly engaged, they would be considered an employee or office holder for tax purposes. The changes will also apply to more complex labour chains, so an early understanding of the labour supply chain is critical.

Voluntary overtime must be included in holiday pay if sufficiently regular and settled
United Kingdom | 17 July 2019

The Court of Appeal recently confirmed that the EU Working Time Directive requires voluntary overtime to be included in holiday pay if it is sufficiently regular and settled to amount to normal remuneration. This ruling is in line with other recent cases which have covered what should be considered when calculating holiday pay. It provides clear authority that employers should include sufficiently regular and settled voluntary overtime in their holiday pay calculations.

Failing to enhance pay for shared parental leave is not sex discrimination
United Kingdom | 10 July 2019

In an emphatic judgment, the Court of Appeal has ruled that it is not direct discrimination, indirect discrimination or a breach of equal pay rights to provide enhanced pay for maternity leave and statutory pay only for shared parental leave (SPL). This judgment is good news for employers, as it sends a clear message that it is lawful to enhance maternity pay but provide statutory pay only for SPL.

Employee ordered to pay more than £500,000 in legal costs in breach of restrictive covenants and data privacy case
United Kingdom | 03 July 2019

Following a trial in the High Court where an employer was awarded final injunctions to prohibit a former employee from breaching post-termination restrictions, the losing employee was ordered to pay 90% of his former employer's legal bill. This is a useful decision for employers, as it demonstrates that a reasonable and proportionate email trawl need not infringe an employee's privacy rights.

Court of Appeal rules on liability of overseas co-workers for whistleblowing
United Kingdom | 19 June 2019

In an unusual case of whistleblowing detriment brought by an overseas employee against two co-workers (also based overseas), the Court of Appeal has ruled that the employment tribunal in question had no jurisdiction to hear the claim in relation to personal liability of the co-workers because they were outside the scope of UK employment law. The decision may have implications for other types of claim brought by employees posted overseas where similar personal liability provisions apply.

Good Work Plan – first steps down the path
United Kingdom | 05 June 2019

In December 2018, following Matthew Taylor's extensive review of modern employment practices, the government unveiled its Good Work Plan, which set out a long list of proposals. The employment law reforms mapped out by the government are still in their infancy, but this is a good moment to reflect on where things stand and what lies ahead.

European Commission confirms its views on European works councils and a no-deal Brexit
United Kingdom | 29 May 2019

The European Commission has revised its guidance on the legal repercussions of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union for European works councils, including the implications of a no-deal Brexit. Among other things, the guidance states that the EU European Works Council Directive will cease to apply to the United Kingdom and that UK employees may continue to be represented on a European works council if that is provided for in the European works council agreement.

EAT confirms that removal of outdated contractual entitlement following transfer was not void
United Kingdom | 22 May 2019

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently upheld a decision that the removal of outdated contractual entitlements following a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) transfer was not void, as the sole or principal reason was not the transfer or a reason connected with the transfer. This is a relatively rare example of contractual changes following a TUPE transfer being permissible.

Pre-transfer dismissal was by reason of transfer and automatically unfair
United Kingdom | 15 May 2019

The Court of Appeal recently upheld a decision that the dismissal of an employee immediately before a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations transfer was automatically unfair because the principal reason had been the transfer. This case underlines that even where an employer believes that it has a non-transfer-related rationale for a dismissal, caution should be exercised where it will occur close to the transfer date.

High Court construes TUPE indemnity
United Kingdom | 08 May 2019

The High Court recently considered whether a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) indemnity for employment payments which fell due before the transfer date included sums whose payment dates had not yet crystallised. The case serves as a warning to practitioners when drafting TUPE provisions (eg, in asset purchase or outsourcing agreements).

Court of Appeal maintains interim springboard injunction in team moves case
United Kingdom | 10 April 2019

A recent Court of Appeal judgment is a helpful reminder of the applicable legal tests in securing an interim springboard injunction. It also identifies several practical factors that may influence the granting of discretionary remedies in the context of a team move and reminds employers facing an injunction application of the risk that the 'truth will out' if they (or their new recruits) present misleading evidence to the court.

Will Brexit frustrate your European works council?
United Kingdom | 27 March 2019

The final form of Brexit remains uncertain, as does its impact on European works councils governed by UK law. As such, employers with European works councils currently governed by the United Kingdom's European works council legislation are strongly advised to conditionally appoint a new representative agent in a state that will remain in the European Union.

Court of Appeal upholds EAT decision on Asda equal pay claims
United Kingdom | 13 March 2019

The Court of Appeal recently upheld an Employment Appeal Tribunal decision that Asda's lower-paid, predominately female retail staff can compare themselves to higher-paid, mainly male, distribution depot staff. While the facts are specific to Asda, any employer with different groups of predominantly male or female workers should review its pay practices, regardless of whether these groups work at the same site.

Redundancy protection for pregnancy and maternity to be extended?
United Kingdom | 06 March 2019

The government recently published a consultation paper extending protection from redundancy for pregnant women, women who have returned to work after maternity leave and new parents. The paper seeks views on whether protection should be extended throughout pregnancy and for a period after a woman returns to work and whether this should also apply to parents who have taken other types of leave.

National 'sickie' day: tips for managing sickness absence
United Kingdom | 20 February 2019

In 2018 sickness absences cost UK employers an average of £656 per employee. With employers likely to experience the highest levels of sickness absence between January and March, those looking to tackle short-term intermittent sickness absence may want to consider (among other things) offering flexible working options and duvet days while limiting the amount of annual leave employees take in the summer.

Good Work Plan – any good?
United Kingdom | 13 February 2019

The government recently published details of its Good Work Plan, which sets out its considered position on the Taylor review of modern working practices. While the plan provides useful information on what is likely to happen, it is too early for employers to do much to prepare. The draft regulations that have been published so far are relatively straightforward and most changes will not come into effect until April 2020 at the earliest.

2018 in employment law
United Kingdom | 06 February 2019

There were a number of significant employment law decisions in 2018, particularly on the issue of employment status, which continues to be a hot topic. In addition, the fallout from various high-profile allegations of sexual harassment and the resulting #MeToo movement has continued, with the use of non-disclosure agreements in harassment cases provoking debate. There are also various reforms planned following the government's response to the Taylor review of modern working practices.

Court of Appeal rejects Uber's worker status appeal
United Kingdom | 30 January 2019

The Court of Appeal recently upheld the Employment Appeal Tribunal's ruling that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. The majority also upheld the employment tribunal's finding that drivers are working when they are signed into the Uber app and ready to work. Doubt arose from the fact that a driver could have other rival apps switched on at the same time, in which case it was arguable that they were not at Uber's disposal until having accepted a trip.

Trade union's Deliveroo judicial review challenge fails
United Kingdom | 09 January 2019

The High Court recently dismissed a judicial review challenge to a finding by the Central Arbitration Committee that Deliveroo riders are not workers. Although permission for judicial review had been granted on limited grounds, the judgment provides important guidance on what constitutes an employment relationship in the context of EU human rights law and emphatically endorses Deliveroo's position that riders are genuinely self-employed.

Court of Appeal holds employer liable for wrongful disclosure of personal data by rogue employee
United Kingdom | 02 January 2019

The High Court recently considered a case where an internal auditor from the supermarket chain Morrisons disclosed payroll data on the Internet relating to about 100,000 of his colleagues following an internal disciplinary process. The auditor was tracked down, charged and sentenced to eight years in prison. But was Morrisons liable to the employees whose information he had leaked?

Private sector must operate new IR35 rules for contractors from April 2020
United Kingdom | 19 December 2018

The chancellor recently confirmed that with effect from 6 April 2020, businesses in the private sector which engage 'contractors' (ie, individuals who supply their services via their own company or partnership (the intermediary)) will be responsible for determining whether the IR35 rules apply. If the business considers that IR35 applies, the person paying the intermediary will be responsible for operating pay-as-you-earn and national insurance contributions on the fees that it pays to the intermediary.

Employer NICs on termination payments delayed again
United Kingdom | 12 December 2018

The government's plan to make termination payments in excess of £30,000 subject to employer national insurance contributions has been delayed for a second time and will now take effect from April 2020. Initially this change was expected to be introduced from April 2018; however, the Autumn 2017 Budget announced that it would take effect from April 2019. The further delay is welcome news for employers as it will help to keep the costs of settlement payments down for another 12 months.

Court backs recruitment agency seeking to enforce non-solicitation and non-dealing clauses against former employee
United Kingdom | 05 December 2018

The High Court has awarded an interim injunction to Berry Recruitment Limited to prevent a former employee from soliciting and dealing with its clients and candidates. This case reinforces the fact that, in the right circumstances, recruitment businesses can enforce post-termination restrictions against employees without the trouble and expense of a full hearing.

Company held liable for managing director's violent conduct
United Kingdom | 21 November 2018

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a company was vicariously liable for the violent conduct of its managing director in physically attacking one of his employees at a Christmas party. The decision confirms that employers can be vicariously liable for actions taking place outside the normal employer-employee environment, such as an off-duty misuse of authority by someone in a senior position.

Ethnicity pay reporting: why it's not that simple
United Kingdom | 07 November 2018

The government says that it is "time to move to mandatory ethnicity pay reporting" and recently launched a consultation on a possible new law. The consultation seeks feedback on the sort of information that employers should be required to publish. It sets out some different ways in which this could be done, including by having a single pay gap figure of 'white versus non-white' or multiple pay gap figures for all of the different ethnicities or by publishing pay information by £20,000 pay band or by quartile.

Heathrow fined over data breach: key takeaways for employers
United Kingdom | 31 October 2018

The Information Commissioner's Office has made a civil monetary penalty order of £120,000 against Heathrow Airport Ltd after a lost USB stick containing the sensitive personal information of a number of employees was found by a member of the public. Employers should evaluate whether it is necessary to allow employees to use removable storage media and ensure that employees are fully informed of the applicable data protection policies and given relevant and adequate training.

Parental bereavement bill receives royal assent
United Kingdom | 17 October 2018

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill recently received royal assent to become the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018. The act entitles employed parents who have lost a child to take statutory paid leave to allow them time to grieve. The new rights are expected to come into force in 2020.

EAT finds that pre-transfer dismissal was by reason of transfer and automatically unfair
United Kingdom | 10 October 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently upheld a decision that the dismissal of an employee immediately before a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations transfer was automatically unfair because the principal reason was the transfer. The case emphasises that even where an employer believes that it has a non-transfer-related rationale for the dismissal, caution should be exercised if the dismissal will occur close to the transfer date.

TUPE and the transfer of public administrative functions
United Kingdom | 03 October 2018

In a case about whether Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Regulations applied to the transfer of a public health team commissioning service, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has considered points of appeal in relation to two seldom litigated provisions of TUPE: Regulations 3(5) and 4(1).

Fragmentation of activity may preclude service provision change
United Kingdom | 26 September 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that when considering whether there has been a service provision change under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, a tribunal must identify the relevant activity. Further, the analysis must be conducted in the right order and any fragmentation should be considered when determining whether activities carried on by the subsequent service provider are fundamentally the same as those carried on by the outgoing service provider.

Workplace sexual harassment – Women and Equalities Committee urges radical reform
United Kingdom | 29 August 2018

The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has published a report on sexual harassment in the workplace highlighting five points on which it is calling on the government to take action. The committee's call to put sexual harassment at the top of the agenda for both the government and employers is timely, although it remains to be seen what effect the recommendations will have and whether specific legislative proposals will emerge in response.

Care workers are not entitled to minimum wage for 'sleep-in' shifts
United Kingdom | 22 August 2018

The Court of Appeal has decided that care workers carrying out so-called 'sleep-in' shifts are not entitled to the national minimum wage for the whole shift, but rather only when they are required to be awake and working. In so ruling, the court has overturned various earlier decisions of the Employment Appeal Tribunal and contradictory guidance from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which would have exposed the care sector to claims for arrears of pay worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Where might the government's Brexit white paper lead us?
United Kingdom | 15 August 2018

Although massively contentious, the government's white paper proposals on the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union post-Brexit add some flesh to the bones of what future interrelation between the two entities may look like. But what are the key points for employment lawyers?

EU (Withdrawal) Act – what does it mean for employment?
United Kingdom | 01 August 2018

The EU Withdrawal Bill has received royal assent and become the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. As a result of the act, it is now law that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union at 11:00pm on 29 March 2019, with the European Communities Act 1972 being repealed. Only fresh legislation could delay or overturn the United Kingdom's departure. What does this mean from an employment law perspective?

High Court dismisses Pimlico Plumbers challenge to Deliveroo contract
United Kingdom | 25 July 2018

In the latest development regarding worker status and the gig economy, and applying the recent Supreme Court decision in Pimlico Plumbers, the High Court has rejected the Independent Workers of Great Britain trade union application for a judicial review of the Central Arbitration Committee's decision that Deliveroo riders are not workers based on the terms of Deliveroo's substitution clause.

Too hot to handle? What employers should know about a heatwave
United Kingdom | 18 July 2018

Over the past few months, the United Kingdom has gone from shivering in sub-zero temperatures to experiencing one of the hottest summers on record. Although the sun may be more welcome than the snow, it can still cause headaches for employers. As such, there are a number of factors that they should keep in mind when the mercury starts rising.

Supreme Court confirms Pimlico Plumbers are workers
United Kingdom | 11 July 2018

In the latest major development in a series of cases on employment status, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Pimlico Plumbers and confirmed that a self-employed plumber should have been classed as a worker. In a unanimous judgment, the court upheld the previous decisions, ruling that the employment tribunal had been entitled to find that the plumber was a worker and that he was in employment for the purposes of protection from discrimination.

CEO pay ratio reporting coming soon
United Kingdom | 04 July 2018

The government intends to introduce legislation that requires all UK-listed companies with more than 250 employees in the United Kingdom to report annually on the difference in pay between their chief executive officer and their average UK worker. However, compiling the data required to produce the reports will be another headache for overstretched legal, human resources and payroll teams.

New IR35 rules coming to the private sector
United Kingdom | 27 June 2018

The government has launched a consultation to tackle non-compliance with the IR35 regime in the private sector. If the main proposal is implemented, businesses engaging individuals who supply their services via their own company or partnership (intermediary) will be responsible for determining whether the IR35 rules apply. If so, the party paying the intermediary will be responsible for operating pay-as-you-earn tax and national insurance contributions on the fees that it pays to the intermediary.

Appeal judgment confirms Addison Lee cycle couriers are workers
United Kingdom | 06 June 2018

In the latest decision on employment status in the gig economy, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has dismissed Addison Lee's appeal against an employment tribunal decision that its cycle couriers were workers and therefore entitled to holiday pay. The EAT upheld the tribunal's findings that the established practice and expectation of both parties was that the couriers would carry out work as directed, which was sufficient to prove that they were workers under the legal test.

Failing to enhance pay for shared parental leave may be indirect sex discrimination
United Kingdom | 23 May 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently indicated that enhancing maternity pay, but not pay for shared parental leave, may give rise to indirect sex discrimination claims by fathers. Indirect discrimination was always expected to prove a much greater challenge to employers paying different rates of pay to women on maternity leave and parents taking shared parental leave. Unfortunately, the tribunal's decision has not resolved this issue.

EHRC gets tough on enforcing gender pay gap reporting
United Kingdom | 16 May 2018

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is adopting a rigorous approach to the enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting regime. It recently confirmed in a Freedom of Information Act request that it has sent 1,456 letters to employers that it believes have failed to comply with the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 and indicated that it will be investigating every company that has failed to comply.

HMRC publishes guidance on new PILON tax rules, but uncertainty remains
United Kingdom | 09 May 2018

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has published guidance on the new rules that require income tax and national insurance contributions to be paid on all payments in lieu of notice from April 6 2018. While the guidance had been eagerly awaited, given the uncertainty over how the rules will operate in practice, a number of questions remain unanswered.

Failure to pay father full pay for shared parental leave is not sex discrimination
United Kingdom | 02 May 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has decided that failure to pay a father his full salary during shared parental leave does not constitute sex discrimination in circumstances where a mother taking maternity leave during the same period would have received full pay. The tribunal held that a woman on maternity leave and a man taking shared parental leave are not in comparable circumstances. Further, the Equality Act allows special treatment to be given to women in connection with pregnancy or childbirth.

New tax rules for payments in lieu of notice
United Kingdom | 28 March 2018

New tax rules will mean that income tax and national insurance contributions must be paid on all payments in lieu of notice from April 6 2018. However, the new rules are complex and although Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has confirmed that it will soon issue guidance on how they operate in practice, further details published recently have only added to the confusion.

When to pay interns
United Kingdom | 21 March 2018

Media outlets have reported that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has initiated a crackdown on unpaid internships, including sending letters warning that workers must be paid the national minimum wage and setting up teams to tackle the problem. Organisations that fail to pay the minimum wage to interns who are workers may be penalised and the individuals could bring claims for back pay.

Government response to Taylor review – a damp squib?
United Kingdom | 14 March 2018

The government has published its Good Work Plan in response to Matthew Taylor's review of modern working practices. While the response sets out the government's intention to proceed with nearly all of the review's recommendations, it lacks specific proposals and much of the detail will be subject to further consultation. Acknowledging that employment status in particular is a complex area, the government has put forward no firm proposals.

Making a termination payment after April 5 2018
United Kingdom | 07 March 2018

Income tax and national insurance contributions must be paid on all payments in lieu of notice from April 6 2018. The new rules emerged from a government consultation on the simplification of the tax treatment of termination payments. However, far from simplifying their taxation, the rules impose a complex administrative burden on employers and are likely to increase the costs to both employers and employees.

Further clarity on relevance of TUPE following share sale
United Kingdom | 28 February 2018

How relevant are the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) in the context of a share sale? A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision provides a reminder that TUPE can easily come into play when a buyer is considering what to do with its newly acquired subsidiary. In this case, the buyer's actions led to an unexpected TUPE transfer and a £3.5 million bill.

TUPE and offshoring
United Kingdom | 21 February 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has issued a decision on the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations in the context of an offshoring of services and whether a transferring employee is entitled to protection of his or her salary terms if he or she relocates to the new place of operations in the transferee's home jurisdiction. The tribunal stated that the regulations permit variation of contracts, but the changes must be agreed by both the employee and the employer.

Evidence of pre-termination negotiations admissible if effective date of termination is in dispute
United Kingdom | 14 February 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently held that where the effective date of termination is in dispute in an unfair dismissal case, a tribunal can hear evidence of pre-termination negotiations if it is relevant to determining the issue. It held that the fact and content of pre-termination negotiations can be referred to in automatically unfair dismissal cases, as well as in relation to discrimination or breach of contract claims, unless the discussions are covered by the 'without prejudice' rule.

Employment Appeal Tribunal confirms that employer's attempt to bypass collective bargaining is unlawful
United Kingdom | 07 February 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently confirmed that offers made directly by an employer to its employees may constitute unlawful attempts to bypass collective bargaining contrary to Section 145B of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act. The tribunal held that the fact that collective bargaining had continued in this case did not prevent the employer's direct offers from having the prohibited result.

Discrimination based on perceived disability confirmed unlawful
United Kingdom | 31 January 2018

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently confirmed that it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees because of a perceived disability, even where an employee is not disabled under the relevant legal test. It held that disability discrimination based on a perception works in the same way as discrimination of other protected characteristics; therefore, even an incorrect assumption about a health condition still constitutes direct disability discrimination.

Rogue employees and no-fault liability
United Kingdom | 24 January 2018

A recent High Court judgment in a case concerning supermarket chain Morrisons has illustrated how employers may be liable for the wrongful acts of rogue employees. The court held that Morrisons was indirectly liable for the disclosure of personal payroll data by an aggrieved internal auditor, despite the fact that it had upheld its security obligations, on the grounds that the auditor had acted in the course of his employment.

Employment status review announced in response to Taylor report
United Kingdom | 17 January 2018

In its Autumn 2017 Budget, the government indicated for the first time how it intends to respond to the recommendations made by Matthew Taylor in his review of modern working practices. Previously, the government had been relatively quiet about how it would take those recommendations forward. However, in the budget, it committed to publishing an employment status discussion paper as part of its response to the review.

Extending 'off-payroll' worker reforms to private sector
United Kingdom | 10 January 2018

The chancellor of the exchequer announced in the Autumn 2017 Budget that there would be a consultation in 2018 to tackle non-compliance with IR35 rules in the private sector. While extending the reforms to the private sector might help to level the playing field between it and the public sector, such a change would also increase burdens and costs for businesses.

Workers denied paid holiday can carry over rights until termination
United Kingdom | 03 January 2018

The European Court of Justice has ruled that where workers are not granted paid annual leave to which they are entitled under the EU Working Time Directive, they must be able to carry over and accumulate holiday rights from year to year and be compensated for these on termination of employment. The ruling has significant implications for UK businesses that have wrongly classified individuals as self-employed contractors, as workers could claim years' worth of unpaid holiday pay.

Full employment tribunal fee refunds scheme now open
United Kingdom | 20 December 2017

After a brief pilot scheme, the full scheme for refunding employment tribunal fees is now open for use. It can be used immediately by all claimants and respondents who have paid a fee during employment tribunal proceedings or during an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Employers that have been involved in employment tribunal proceedings in the past few years should think carefully about whether they can reclaim any fees.

Deliveroo defends union recognition application by demonstrating riders are genuinely self-employed
United Kingdom | 13 December 2017

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) has rejected an application from the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain for collective bargaining rights in respect of Deliveroo riders. In the first high-profile worker-status decision to find in favour of a company in recent times, the CAC held that Deliveroo's riders have a genuine right to use a substitute to perform deliveries before and after they have accepted a job, which riders take advantage of in practice.

Uber's worker status appeal rejected
United Kingdom | 06 December 2017

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently upheld the Employment Tribunal decision that drivers engaged by Uber are workers rather than independent contractors. The decision has been eagerly awaited by human resource and employment practitioners seeking guidance on how to apply the test for worker status properly in the context of gig economy businesses. However, the judgment is highly fact-specific and other cases concerning gig economy businesses may not be decided in the same way.

New Acas guidance on mental health in workplace
United Kingdom | 22 November 2017

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service has published a guide to promoting positive mental health in the workplace. The guide highlights the benefits for employers in proactively addressing this issue and sets out a step-by-step process to help them to achieve the key objectives of tackling the causes of work-related mental ill health, creating a culture where employees can talk about their mental health and supporting employees who are experiencing mental ill health.

Progress on parental bereavement bill
United Kingdom | 15 November 2017

The proposed Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill – which aims to provide a statutory right to paid leave for employed parents who suffer the loss of a child – was recently introduced in Parliament. Previous attempts to introduce paid leave in these circumstances have been unsuccessful. However, the new bill has the government's support and is likely to become law.

Employment tribunal fees – refunds begin
United Kingdom | 08 November 2017

The government has launched the first stage of its scheme for refunding employment tribunal fees following the Supreme Court's decision that the fees system was unlawful. The first stage will involve 1,000 people being contacted to apply for a refund, after which the full scheme will be rolled out. Employers should register their interest now and locate their Employment Tribunal order and proof of payment, in preparation for making an application when the full scheme opens.

Gender pay gap reporting – the story so far
United Kingdom | 18 October 2017

Only 80 of the estimated 7,000 employers with 250-plus employees have uploaded their gender pay gap reports to the government's website. The snapshot from these reports reveals that the mean, mean pay gap and the mean, median pay gap are lower than expected. Further, the data shows a steady progression from a preponderance of female employees in the lowest paid quartiles to a preponderance of male employees in the highest paid quartiles. However, these statistics may not be reliable.

Taxation of termination payments – updated legislation published
United Kingdom | 11 October 2017

The government recently published the Finance Bills 2017 and 2018, which contain the latest proposals for changes to the tax and national insurance treatment of termination payments. The updated legislation, which is likely to be enacted, simplifies the rules regarding non-contractual payments in lieu of notice. However, the circumstances in which foreign service exemption or relief will be abolished have been widened.

Retail workers comparable to distribution centre workers for equal pay claim
United Kingdom | 27 September 2017

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) recently ruled that individuals working in Asda retail stores can compare themselves with hypothetical distribution workers, allowing the United Kingdom's largest private sector group's equal pay claim to proceed. The EAT rejected Asda's argument that the Equality Act 2010 had altered the law when replacing the relevant section of the Equal Pay Act 1970 and upheld the use of hypothetical comparators where no actual comparators work at the claimant's establishment.

Executive pay ratio reporting – sound familiar?
United Kingdom | 20 September 2017

The government recently announced that it will take forward a number of proposals for corporate governance reform relating to employment, including proposals on executive pay ratio reporting, which echo the new gender pay gap reporting requirements. However, it remains to be seen whether the government will take on board some of the lessons of gender pay gap reporting or whether this will become another public policy initiative which produces misleading results and does little to tackle the underlying problem.

Latest decision on holiday pay – regular voluntary overtime payments to be included
United Kingdom | 06 September 2017

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has clarified that regular voluntary overtime payments form part of normal remuneration and should be included in the calculation of holiday pay for the purposes of the four weeks' minimum annual leave entitlement required by EU law. Employers should now review their overtime arrangements and approach to calculating holiday pay to ensure compliance with this decision.

Thorny issues arising from abolition of employment tribunal fees
United Kingdom | 30 August 2017

The Supreme Court recently ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful. The case has significant constitutional and political implications, but also raises a number of thorny practical issues regarding the volume of future claims, administrative processes, refunds of historic fees and out of time claims.

Right to paid parental bereavement leave is coming
United Kingdom | 23 August 2017

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill, introduced into Parliament in July 2017, would entitle employees who have lost a child to statutory paid leave to allow them time to grieve. Although this is a private member's bill, it is supported by the government and would fulfil a Conservative manifesto promise to ensure bereavement support for employees – so there is a good chance that it will become law.

Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful by Supreme Court
United Kingdom | 16 August 2017

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the legislation requiring fees to be paid for bringing employment tribunal claims is unlawful and should be quashed. In one of the most remarkable employment law judgments of recent times, the court held that employment tribunal fees interfere unjustifiably with the right to access to justice and discriminate unlawfully against women.

Supreme Court upholds same-sex partner's right to equal pension
United Kingdom | 09 August 2017

The Supreme Court recently ruled that an exemption in the Equality Act 2010 allowing employers to exclude civil partners from pension benefits accrued before the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force is incompatible with EU law and should be disapplied. The case revolved around the retrospective application of the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive, which prohibits discrimination in employment on various grounds, including sexual orientation.

The future of employment law: Taylor-ed to fit?
United Kingdom | 26 July 2017

The Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy – commissioned by the prime minister and chaired by Matthew Taylor – has produced its long awaited report, which contains extensive analysis of the UK jobs market and how it is likely to evolve in an era of automation and robots. If carried forward to legislation, Taylor's recommendations will have profound implications for all employers; particularly those using contractors and zero-hours and agency workers.

ECJ advocate general opines on adequate facility provisions
United Kingdom | 19 July 2017

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision concerning paid annual leave was referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). If followed by the ECJ, the advocate general opinion in King v The Sash Window Workshop Ltd will extend employers' liabilities in a new direction by requiring that they must provide an "adequate facility" for workers to exercise their right to paid leave.

The future world of work: regulating the work relationship
United Kingdom | 21 June 2017

The gig economy has drawn criticism from many quarters on the way in which some platforms operate and the rights of those working for them. In light of the increasing focus on employment status in the gig economy, the government recently launched an inquiry into the future world of work, which provides an opportunity to scrutinise and rethink how the United Kingdom regulates the relationship between 'work givers' and 'work performers'.

Supreme Court clarifies indirect discrimination test
United Kingdom | 03 May 2017

In two recent decisions, the Supreme Court gave a clear explanation of how the test for indirect discrimination works and decided that it is not necessary to explain why a provision, criterion or practice disadvantages a particular group in order to show indirect discrimination. This decision is not particularly helpful for employers as it makes it somewhat easier for individuals to make an indirect discrimination claim. However, the news is not all bad.

Supreme Court ends British Gas challenge to holiday pay ruling
United Kingdom | 12 April 2017

The Supreme Court recently refused permission for British Gas to appeal against an important ruling that the calculation of holiday pay should include results-based commission. However, an employment tribunal still needs to consider issues such as whether the commission scheme effectively compensated for the period of annual leave. Only then will employers have clarity about how to calculate holiday pay for those earning results-based commission.

The risk for employers in bypassing collective bargaining
United Kingdom | 05 April 2017

Can an employer that has recognised a trade union for collective bargaining purposes still put an offer directly to its employees? This was addressed in a recent case in which an employer offered a pay deal directly to its employees; the Employment Tribunal found that it had bypassed the collective bargaining arrangement, resulting in a substantial financial penalty.

Pimlico Plumbers are workers not self-employed
United Kingdom | 08 March 2017

The recent emergence of the gig economy has brought the issue of employment status to the fore. In the latest development in a series of cases on this subject, the Court of Appeal found that a self-employed plumber should have been classed as a worker. The court held that the plumber was obliged to provide his services personally and that the company he worked for was not a customer of a business operated by him.

ETO reasons must entail changes in workforce
United Kingdom | 01 March 2017

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal serves as a useful reminder of how employers can fairly dismiss employees for an economic, technical or organisational (ETO) reason following a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations transfer. The test for whether there is an ETO reason is twofold. First, the employer must establish an ETO reason, which may be relatively straightforward. However, in all cases the reason must also "entail changes in the workforce".

What does Brexit mean for UK employment law?
United Kingdom | 08 February 2017

It seems unlikely that UK employment law will be transformed in significant ways as a result of Brexit, at least in the short term. In the medium term, the government may start to tweak the law to make it more business friendly. However, it is difficult to envisage a wholesale 'bonfire of regulations', at least without a radical cultural and political shift. In the longer term, if the United Kingdom is outside the single market, there will inevitably be a growing divergence between UK and EU employment law.

Trade Union Act 2016 – the year ahead
United Kingdom | 25 January 2017

Although the Trade Union Act 2016 became law in May last year, further legislation is needed to flesh out some of its reforms and bring them into force. Now that the government has begun publishing this additional legislation, areas such as industrial action ballots, picketing and electronic ballots are likely to be affected in the year ahead.

Employment law review 2016/2017
United Kingdom | 18 January 2017

A number of changes to employment law have taken place in the past year, including with regard to modern slavery, employment tribunals and the calculation of holiday pay. Looking ahead, some significant reforms are planned for 2017, including gender pay gap reporting, industrial action reforms and the taxation of termination payments.

New consultations on employment tribunals and ill health and disability
United Kingdom | 04 January 2017

The government recently launched two new consultations on reforms to the employment tribunal system and on work, health and disability. The proposed changes to tribunals are part of a wider programme of court reform intended to modernise claims handling, streamline access to justice and reduce costs. The green paper on work, health and disability is designed to help the government to comprehend why people with disabilities or long-term health conditions may struggle to find or keep a job.

Tax treatment of termination payments – simplification at last?
United Kingdom | 21 December 2016

The chancellor's Autumn Statement included welcome news regarding the forthcoming reform of the tax and national insurance treatment of termination payments. Among other things, the employer national insurance and income tax treatment will be aligned; the existing employee national insurance exemption on termination payment will be retained; and the distinction between the different types of payment in lieu of notice will be removed.

Changing your mind about notice – Article 50, employment contracts and flouncing
United Kingdom | 14 December 2016

The government may argue in the Supreme Court that its Article 50 notice to leave the European Union could be revoked, which would contradict its argument in the High Court. While this may be a question of high politics, it highlights an issue that employment lawyers are often called to advise upon – can notice, once served, be withdrawn or rejected?

Uber drivers win first round in employment status dispute
United Kingdom | 16 November 2016

An employment tribunal recently ruled that drivers engaged by Uber are workers, not self-employed contractors, meaning that they will be entitled to the national minimum wage, paid annual leave and whistleblower protection. This is the first case to test employment status in the rapidly expanding 'gig economy' and, as such, it has received significant attention.

Shared parental leave and sex discrimination
United Kingdom | 02 November 2016

The first case regarding the amounts paid to men and women on shared parental leave has been decided by an employment tribunal in Glasgow. Following the decision, employers which have combined their family leave policies into a single family-friendly policy should seek advice, as it may be easier to justify a difference in treatment in relation to pay if that difference is reflected in different types of leave.

Court of Appeal confirms that holiday pay should include commission
United Kingdom | 26 October 2016

The Court of Appeal recently issued its decision in a case which raises the question of whether and how a salesperson's commission should be taken into account when calculating holiday pay. On the face of domestic legislation, commission seems to be excluded from calculations of holiday pay. However, the European Court of Justice decisions confirm that the minimum four-week holiday entitlement must be paid at a rate that reflects normal remuneration.

Corporate governance and executive pay inquiry launched
United Kingdom | 19 October 2016

The House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee recently launched an inquiry into corporate governance and executive pay following new Prime Minister Theresa May's declaration that the gap between executive and workers' pay is "unhealthy". The committee also intends to explore proposals on worker representation on boards and remuneration committees.

Tax treatment of termination payments – sting in the tail
United Kingdom | 14 September 2016

In 2015 the government launched a consultation to simplify the tax and national insurance treatment of termination payments. A further consultation has now been published confirming the proposed changes, together with draft legislation, to take effect in April 2018. While many of the more draconian suggestions in the 2015 consultation have been abandoned, there is a sting in the tail.

Non-compete clauses: government call for evidence
United Kingdom | 31 August 2016

The government recently called for evidence on non-compete clauses and their impact on innovation in the United Kingdom, in response to suggestions that non-compete clauses can hinder start-ups and prevent them from hiring the best talent. The call for evidence asked businesses and individuals to provide feedback on whether these provisions are acting as a barrier to innovation.

Brexit: impact on UK employment law
United Kingdom | 20 July 2016

The implications of Brexit for the UK workplace could be major, as a significant proportion of UK employment law comes from Brussels. Once out of the European Union, the UK government could theoretically repeal laws such as those related to discrimination, collective consultation, transfer of undertakings, family leave, working time and duties to agency workers. But would the government do that?

Privacy on parade: the circumscribed right to a private life
United Kingdom | 06 July 2016

A new Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling raises important questions about when employees can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of material on their personal devices. The EAT ruled that there was no breach of an employee's right to a private life when his employer used emails and photos obtained from his mobile phone by the police in the course of a criminal investigation for disciplinary purposes.

Standardising service: government announces consultation on tipping
United Kingdom | 15 June 2016

The government has recently announced a consultation on tipping to identify ways to reduce the confusion that customers often experience. A tipping system which is open to discrimination by customers could become the employer's problem. Employers should consider including provisions in employment contracts and policies that make it clear that any cash tips are between the customer and the employee, and are nothing to do with the employer.

Trade Union Act 2016: the end of the beginning?
United Kingdom | 08 June 2016

The Trade Union Bill 2016 introduces significant reforms in relation to industrial action. These include balloting reforms, amended timeframes for industrial action following a supportive ballot and additional requirements with which trade unions must comply if they are to enjoy statutory protection for picketing during industrial disputes.

Commission payments – limits on employers' discretion
United Kingdom | 11 May 2016

In Hills v Niksun Inc the Court of Appeal confirmed that when allocating commission, employers must exercise their discretion rationally and in accordance with the terms of the relevant contractual documentation. This case shows how the impact of the Braganza ruling – which held that when considering the exercise of power by a party to a contract, the contractual decision maker must take relevant matters into account – is still filtering through the courts.