Information Commissioner’s Office updates guidance on timescales for responding to data subject requests

Employers have one month to respond to most subject access requests. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has updated its guidance to make clear that when calculating the one-month period for response, the day of receipt is day one, rather than the day after receipt.

Government removes its holiday calculator

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had an excellent online calculator that worked out how much holiday workers must receive. It did a lot of the hard work, and was particularly useful to determine the holiday entitlement of workers who start or leave part way through a leave year.

That calculator has been removed and we don’t know whether it will be reinstated once changes are made to reflect the Brazel v Harper Trust decision.

Home Office announces end of freedom of movement

The Home Office has announced freedom of movement is to end on the first day of a no-deal Brexit, overturning the previous government’s plans.

The finer details of this new system aren’t yet known. So far, the Home Office has simply said that “improvements to the previous government’s plans for a new immigration system are being developed and the government will set out its plans shortly.”

The announcement affects anyone looking to come to the UK for longer periods of time after Thursday 31 October 2019, be that for extended travel, work or studying in the UK.

Influential report calls on government to ‘fundamentally change’ the way discrimination claims are enforced

The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has published a report which, if implemented, will radically change the way in which individuals who experience discrimination can enforce their rights.

The Committee believes that many organisations don’t worry about breaching the Equality Act and, in some cases, behave with “impunity” because it’s left to individuals to bring claims – and most don't.

It calls for a fundamental change to the way that equality is thought about and enforced, so that individuals rarely need to bring their own cases.

It recommends:

  1. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) must “up their game” and help to make compliance the “norm.” Specifically, it should use the enforcement powers it already has to drive change by intervening more often and then publishing information about these cases to act as a deterrent to other organisations
  2. Indemnifying the EHRC against having to pay the other side's costs if it loses strategically important cases
  3. Putting a mandatory duty on employers to protect workers from unlawful harassment and victimisation in the workplace, enforceable by the EHRC, and imposing substantial financial penalties on organisations that breach this
  4. Requiring public sector employers to conduct risk assessments to identify unlawful harassment and to put in place plans to mitigate those risks
  5. Requiring the EHRC to prioritise taking action against public authorities in England, Scotland and Wales that fail to implement their public sector equality duty
  6. Identifying a small number of examples of inequality or discrimination within the public sector and introducing new specific duties to tackle these
  7. Imposing a legal duty on each government department to ensure that the public sector enforcement bodies they are responsible for (including regulators, inspectorates and ombudsmen) use their powers to comply with the Equality Act.

It remains to be seen whether the government will implement these suggestions.

Changes to company car fuel from Sunday 1 September 2019

The government has published new advisory fuel rates for employers with company car schemes. These apply to all journeys made on or after Sunday 1 September 2019.

Employer fined £350,000 for workplace pension failures

Employers are being warned not to put their head in the sand, after one business ended up with a £350,000 fine for failing to comply fully with its pension duties. The anonymous case study is included in the latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin published by The Pension Regulator.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Centre have released their annual report examining trends in executive pay across the FTSE 100 during 2018. According to the authors of the report, the median and mean pay packets of FTSE 100 CEOs have fallen since last year’s report, and executive pay for FTSE 100 bosses is now at its lowest level since 2010.

Union calls on government to add four more bank holidays to bring UK in line with the EU

The TUC has asked the government to increase the number of bank holidays to 12 to bring the UK in line with the average number of bank holidays enjoyed by other EU countries.

In the UK, workers must receive 5.6 weeks holiday each year, which works out as 28 days for full-time workers. If the government accept this proposal (which seems highly unlikely), this will mean that full-time workers would receive a minimum of 32 days holiday each year.