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Employment Law Changes - 1 August

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Comes into force and preparation has to start now as it is so important!

 

Implementation date: 25 May 2018

The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will change data protection laws and apply to any business which handles the personal data of EU citizens. It takes effect on 25 May 2018. Despite Brexit, UK businesses must be ready. Is yours?

When the new regulations come into force, businesses must get consent before they use the personal data of any private EU citizen. Come the deadline, businesses must be able to demonstrate compliance. Fines for non-compliance will be hefty to say the least.

The General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679 EU) replaces the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC).

The Regulation harmonises data protection law across the EU and extends it to include all foreign companies processing the data of EU residents. The Regulation:

  • provides for the creation of a single data protection authority instead of the supervisory authority of each member state, and the creation of data protection officers for all public authorities and companies processing high volumes of data;
  • provides for the imposition of a fine of €20 million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is greater;
  • requires the positive consent of individuals to have their data processed;
  • provides for the notification of breaches to the data protection authority; and extends the special categories of information, such as trade union membership and religious belief or political opinion, to include information relating to health.

 

The Information Commissioner's Office has published Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): 12 steps to take now and Guidance: what to expect and when, providing guidance on steps that employers can take in preparation for the new law.

 

Employment tribunal fees system is unlawful, decides Supreme Court 

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Employment tribunals | legality of fees | judicial review

The Supreme Court has held that the requirement for claimants to pay a fee to bring an employment tribunal claim is unlawful and that the legislation that introduced the fees must be quashed.

Unison was unsuccessful in its two High Court judicial review challenges to the tribunal fees system.  The union also lost its appeal in the Court of Appeal against these decisions.

Unison's final appeal was heard in the Supreme Court. The union argued before the Supreme Court that the introduction of employment tribunal fees in July 2013 was an unlawful exercise of the Lord Chancellor's statutory powers because the fees:

  • interfere unjustifiably with the right of access to justice under both UK common law and EU law;
  • The constitutional right of access to the courts is inherent in the rule of law. Courts and tribunals are necessary to ensure that laws created by Parliament and the courts are applied and enforced. It should not be assumed that the administration of justice is simply a public service like any other, and that courts and tribunals are providers of services to the "users" who appear before them, and have no value to anyone else.

The Supreme Court concluded that the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 (SI 2013/1893) is unlawful and must be quashed.

 

What this means?

Implications for employers

The risk to employers of employment tribunal claims are now highly likely to return to pre-July 2013 levels.

The absence of fees will have a big impact on employers' strategies on the use of settlement agreements, and decision-making on settling or fighting claims when they are contacted by Acas for early conciliation.

While employment tribunal fees have been ruled unlawful, the Supreme Court did not explore the mechanics of the abolition of the fees system. This was left up to the Ministry of Justice.

The Supreme Court stopped short of saying that the payment of any fee for bringing a tribunal claim is unlawful. It is possible that the Government could introduce a new system, with the fee set at a lower level.

In 2013, the Lord Chancellor undertook to repay all employment tribunal fees if the tribunal fees system was found to be unlawful. The Government will therefore be expected to pay these sums back to claimants, unless the claim was successful and the tribunal already ordered the employer to repay the fee to the claimant.

 

 Forthcoming Changes.......

 

 

Parents who have suffered the death of a child will receive statutory paid leave to grieve, under a new law introduced to Parliament on 1 August 2017.

 

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill seeks to ensure grieving parents in employment receive paid leave to grieve away from the workplace, which the Government says delivers on its pledge to "enhance rights and protections in the workplace".

 

Bereavement and compassionate leave:  what is the right thing to do?

 

Compassionate leave policy

 

There is currently no legal requirement for employers to provide paid leave for grieving parents.  Kevin Hollinrake MP introduced the Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill into Parliament.

 

He said: "This is such an important Bill for parents going through the most terrible of times.  There is little any of us can do to help, but at least we can make sure that every employer will give them time to grieve.

 

"I have represented a number of constituents who have had to deal with the tragedy of losing a child and I am honoured to be able to do something to help parents in these desperate circumstances."

 

Currently under the Employment Rights Act, employees have a day-one right to take a "reasonable" amount of unpaid time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following the death of a dependant.

 

What is "reasonable" depends on circumstances but, in practice, the length of time off is agreed between the employer and employee.

 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be working with employers, employee representatives and campaigners on behalf of working families to better understand the needs of bereaved parents and employers. The Bill is expected to have its second reading in the autumn.

 

Business minister Margot James said: "The loss of a child is a traumatic experience for any parent. For parents holding down a job at the same time as dealing with their grief, it can be doubly stressful.

 

"We want parents to get the support they need at this deeply upsetting time that is why Government is supporting this Private Members Bill which will introduce statutory paid bereavement leave for employed parents."