Consultations, calls for evidence and surveys affecting employment law
A regular feature of our Up to date briefing is to keep you appraised of open consultations, calls for evidence and surveys affecting the employment law arena. If you would like us to respond on your behalf, please let us know.
We set out below details and links to the consultation, call for evidence and survey documents which may be of interest to in-house employment lawyers and HR professionals.
OPEN CONSULATIONS / CALLS FOR EVIDENCE / SURVEYS
Consultation on the simplification of the tax and national insurance treatment of termination payments
On 24 July 2015 HM Revenue and Customs and HM Treasury launched a public consultation on the simplification of the tax and national insurance treatment of termination payments. The consultation seeks views on the following areas:
The proposed removal of the distinction between contractual and non-contractual termination payments. The removal of this distinction would mean that all termination payments would be subject to tax and NICs.
The proposed alignment of income tax and NICs treatment of termination payments.
Proposals for a new termination payment tax and NICs exemption based on length of service and redundancy (with entitlement arising after 2 years' service).
Which of the existing exemptions should be retained (it is proposed that the following exemptions be retained: payments for injury or disability and HM Forces payments).
Whether new exemptions should be introduced (it is proposed that the following new exemptions be introduced: compensatory amounts for unfair / wrongful dismissal; and compensatory amounts for loss of future earnings following discrimination).
16 October 2015
Intermediaries legislation (IR35): discussion document
On 17 July 2015, HM Revenue and Customs published a discussion document which explores options to make the intermediaries legislation more effective. HMRC wishes to engage with stakeholders to explore options to make the legislation more effective in protecting the Exchequer and "levelling the playing field" between employees and those who work in a similar manner to employees but via their own limited companies.
End September 2015
Consultation on the National Minimum Wage rates
On 29 July 2015, the Low Pay Commission published a consultation seeking views on the Government's proposed reforms to the national minimum wage and the introduction of the new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for workers aged 25 or above from April 2016. The consultation seeks views on the existing rates of the National Minimum Wage and the potential impact of the National Living Wage. Views are also sought on issues surrounding compliance and enforcement.
25 September 2015
Consultation on implementing the Posted Workers Enforcement Directive
On 26 July 2015 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published a consultation on its proposals to implement the Posted Workers Enforcement Directive (which is intended to strengthen the existing provisions of the Posted Workers Directive).
There are specific proposals for reform in the construction industry to enable posted construction workers to bring wages claims against contractors / subcontractors who sit over the employing contractor / subcontractor.
25 September 2015
Consultation on devolving Sunday trading rules
On 5 August 2015, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published a consultation on proposals to devolve to local areas the power to set their own Sunday trading rules.
Stores with a relevant floor area of over 280 square metres / 3000 square feet (large stores) have restricted opening hours on a Sunday, but smaller stores can open all day.
The consultation seeks views on whether the Government should devolve Sunday trading rules to local areas, such as cities run by elected mayors and/or local authorities. There are no proposals to make any changes to the restrictions on trading on Christmas Day or Easter Sunday.
16 September 2015
Call for evidence on social mobility
On 27 July 2015 the Social Mobility Select Committee of the House of Lords announced its inquiry into the transition from school to work for 14-24 year olds. The terms of reference for the inquiry are “to consider social mobility in the transition from school to work” and to report by 23 March 2016. The Committee has decided to set its inquiry in the context of a changing youth labour market, for those within the age range of 14-24.
The Committee wishes to establish who the young people in this group are, and what other disparate, and possibly disadvantaged, groups fall within it. It intends to examine the school to work route for these young people, and whether in its current state it provides good employment outcomes and opportunities for them to move up the social ladder.
The Committee is keen to take evidence from as diverse and as wide a range of stakeholders as possible, including businesses and their representative organisations
14 September 2015
Call for evidence on the impacts on employment outcomes of drug or alcohol addictions, and obesity
On 27 July 2015 the Department for Work and Pensions published a call for evidence on the impacts on employment outcomes of addictions and obesity. The Government has asked Professor Dame Carol Black to undertake an independent review into how best to support benefit claimants with potentially treatable conditions, such as obesity or addictions to drugs and alcohol, back into work. The call for evidence will be one of several methods used to gather information to inform the review. The review will consider the evidence and provide the Government with an analysis of the options available.
This call for evidence is aimed at organisations (including employers) and individuals who have information or experience that is relevant to the review.
11 September 2015
Consultation on ballot thresholds in important public services
On 16 July 2015 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a consultation seeking views on industrial action ballot thresholds in certain key public services. The Trade Union Bill 2015-16 proposes to introduce new ballot thresholds for industrial action. These are: (i) a 50% turn out of all those eligible to vote in all ballots for industrial action; and (ii) a 40% "yes" vote of all those eligible to vote where the majority of them work in "important public services". The consultation seeks views on which occupations within the fire, health, education, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning sectors should be subject to the new 40% "yes" vote threshold. Views are also sought on: key impacts; what factors are important when defining "important public services"; and whether ancillary roles should be included.
9 September 2015
Consultation on tackling intimidation of non-striking workers
On 16 July 2015 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a consultation seeking views on the proposed reform of the law relating to picketing with the aim of addressing the issues of intimidation and "leverage" tactics by trade unions. In particular, the consultation seeks views on:
Whether the current legal framework for dealing with intimidation is adequate and whether a new criminal offence of intimidation on the picket line should be introduced.
Whether certain parts of the Code of Practice on Picketing should be enshrined in the Trade Union Bill 2015-16. This will impose more stringent rules around the operation of pickets.
What regulation might mitigate the harm caused by "leverage tactics" (i.e. wider forms of protest and demonstrations).
A new requirement for trade unions to publish plans in relation to pickets and protests every time industrial action is called.
How the Code of Practice on Picketing should be updated and broadened in scope.
9 September 2015
Consultation on hiring agency staff during strike action
On 16 July 2015 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched a consultation seeking views on the proposed removal of the prohibition on employment businesses supplying agency workers to cover the duties of striking workers (or other workers who have been assigned to cover striking workers).
9 September 2015
Immigration: skill shortages inquiry
On 22 July 2015 the Home Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry into the Tier 2 Skilled Workers system. The inquiry will consider:
What impact has the cap of 20,700 employer-sponsored skilled migration (Tier 2 general) visas had upon employers?
Which sectors have been particularly affected?
If a cap on Tier 2 skilled workers remains, what is the best way to meet the needs of the UK economy while maintaining control of the number of skilled workers coming to the UK from outside the EEA?
If the cap on Tier 2 did not remain, what would replace it?
9 September 2015
Consultation on closing the gender pay gap
On 14 July 2015 the Government Equalities Office launched a public consultation on proposed measures to close gender pay gap. In particular, views are sought on the proposal to introduce gender pay reporting for employers with 250 or more employees.
The consultation seeks views on key points of detail before the new regulations are produced including the following areas:
What form of metric reporting should be adopted?
Should employers be required to provide a "contextual narrative"?
How often should employers have to publish their pay gap information?
What are the likely implementation costs for employers?
Commencement and the proposed calculation date?
What support should the Government provide to employers?
Compliance and enforcement.
View are also sought on what other steps can be taken to close the gender pay gap. You can read our full report on the consultation here.
6 September 2015
Call for evidence on disability discrimination
On 24 June 2015 the House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability launched a Call for Evidence on disability discrimination. The Call for Evidence seeks views on a wide range of areas where the law has an impact on disabled people, from how employers cater for their staff, to accessibility of buildings, to whether the enforcement of the law is being carried out as effectively as possible.
Areas the Committee will look at include:
The achievements of the Equality Act 2010 in harmonising disability discrimination law.
Possible gaps in the legislation affecting people with disabilities.
Reasonable adjustment, and how well this concept is understood and implemented.
How effective the public sector equality duty has been in practice.
How different approaches to the law across the UK have worked.
The division of responsibilities between Ministers and between Government departments.
The role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in enforcing the legislation.
4 September 2015
Consultation on a public sector exit payment cap
On 31 July 2015 HM Treasury published a consultation on the Government's proposals to introduce a cap of £95,000 on the total value of exit payments made to public sector employees. The consultation seeks views on the scope, level and design of this cap.
The proposals will cover:
Current and future employees and office holders of all central and local government departments and non-financial public corporations, as well as Ministers and Special Advisers.
All types of payments made in relation to leaving employment, including voluntary and compulsory exits. However, compensation payments regarding death or injury attributable to the employment, ill-health retirement and payments made following litigation for breach of contract or unfair dismissal will not outside the cap.
All bodies where employment and remuneration practices are the responsibility of the UK government. The Government is considering certain bodies (e.g. the Armed Forces) and public financial corporations and subsidiaries (e.g. the FCA and PRA) but the consultation notes that the Government’s "strong expectation" is that bodies that are proposed to be outside the scope of the cap will "come forward with their own, commensurate cap on exit payments".
27 August 2015
Consultation on preventing the misuse of the term "apprenticeships" and "apprentice" in relation to unauthorised training
On 29 July 2015 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published a consultation seeking views on the Government’s proposal to protect against misuse of the term "apprenticeship" and "apprentice" by unauthorised training providers. The proposed maximum penalty for breach of the statutory prohibition would be a fine. The proposed measures are not intended to prevent employers using the word "apprenticeship" to describe their own training, or offering contracts of apprenticeship. Views are sought from prospective and current apprentices, employers and training providers.
19 August 2015
RECENTLY CLOSED CONSULTATIONS / CALLS FOR EVIDENCE / SURVEYS
Consultation: equality between women and men in the EU (European Commission)
21 July 2015
Consultation: worker information and consultation (European Commission)
30 June 2015
Call for evidence: collective redundancy consultation for employers facing insolvency (Insolvency Service)
12 June 2015
Consultation on whistleblowing in deposit-takers, PRA-designated investment firms and insurers (FCA and PRA)
22 May 2015
Survey on the recovery of unpaid Employment Tribunal awards (BIS)
27 March 2015
Consultation on the review of the Working Time Directive (European Commission)
15 March 2015
Consultation on proposed amendments to the Employment Tribunal postponement procedures (BIS)
12 March 2015