March 2018 Newsletter – Manufacturing & Engineering sector

It’s March and in keeping with the spirit of Spring (if we ever see it this year!) there are budding new HR/Employment laws sprouting. In particular, it’s all change for the taxation of termination payments from 6 April 2018 and, of course, GDPR is just around the corner on 25 May 2018; we’ve got more guidance for you on that. One growth area that you might not be too keen on is the 147% rise in Tribunal claims – time for some weeding out of the tricky people problems before they add to those statistics! We also recommend that you proactively tackle your pay equality issues rather than find yourselves on the receiving end of the whopping 233% increase in Equal Pay claims. So if you haven’t yet undertaken an Equal Pay Audit, now is the time to call us.

In our case update we give you good news that a pregnant worker will not benefit from statutory protection on account of pregnancy until her employer is made aware that she is pregnant. Further, an employer does not have to take every possible step to establish whether an employee is disabled to avoid knowledge of disability. The not so good news is that the holiday pay rate for term-time workers should not be calculated on the basis of 12.07% of annual pay and employers would be wise to consider bumping at some point during a redundancy process.

What we’ve been doing in the Manufacturing & Engineering sector recently…

We have noticed an increase in queries from our clients around individuals claiming to be workers. You will be aware that the genuinely self-employed don’t have any employment rights, however workers (which is essentially the category of individuals who fall somewhere between self-employed and employees) do. The problem for companies is that although they may have labelled and treated the individuals as self-employed and the individuals may have accepted that, and are treated as such by HMRC there is a real risk that a Tribunal can deem them to be workers.

If someone is a worker they have a number of rights, the key ones being that they are entitled to paid annual leave under the Working Time Regulations and so may be able to claim back pay for leave they can say they were prevented from taking because they were not paid for it, this liability can go back to when they first started working for you. The other claim they can bring is a detriment claim for whistleblowing, which can include a right to an injury to feelings award. There are now companies discovering some very expensive time bombs because they have been treating individuals as self-employed whereas they are in fact workers.  We recommend that you carry out an employment status audit, which we can assist with, to establish what is your potential liability.

Simon Martin
Partner, Solicitor
or call 0117 325 0929