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New year, new employment law – ten things to look out

Eversheds LLP

Assess employment needs pending Brexit whilst no employment law changes are envisaged in the short-term as a result of the EU Referendum decision, the impact Brexit may have on the movement of workers and skills/staffing needs is of immediate concern to many employers and employees. Guide provided by Eversheds LLP.

Action Review staff data and identify EU nationals. Using this data, consider if they represent a high percentage or occupy key roles. Consider what reassurance and practical help you can offer, including forward-planning or support with residency applications. Also think about contingency staffing options. Ensure the business is ready for closer scrutiny – many businesses with 31 December 2016 financial year-ends will be required to publish their first annual slavery and trafficking statement during 2017 (for practical guidance, read our briefing). Increasingly, HR is involved in cross-functional teams to prepare the business for modern slavery reporting. In addition, corporate reporting duties have been changing to include a focus on human rights, diversity and employee matters.


Introduce or amend policies and procedures – such as ethics policies and whistle-blowing procedures – and support the raising of awareness on modern slavery issues, particularly at top level. Watch for new developments extending reporting duties (read our briefing on corporate governance and HR).

Check for gender pay differences – larger private and voluntary sector employers and public sector bodies in England need to prepare for disclosure of pay differences between male and female employees. Internal review will be needed during 2017 to meet the legal requirements.


Review existing pay practices across the organisation to identify gender pay differences. Consider how this information will be presented – possibly volunteering additional background info, to give greater context. Are you balancing risk v opportunity with staffing need and the gig economy? – novel working models will continue to present opportunities for both employers and employees in terms of flexible working relationships. However, whilst frequently supporting business expansion, these are also testing the boundaries of employment law status, as emerging cases demonstrate.


Employers currently engaging contractors or planning to expand their workforce through new working arrangements reliant upon self-employed/ contractor status (such as offered by companies like Uber), should weigh-up carefully any risks of potential employment liabilities and costs. Watch for changes to strike ballot requirements and other Trade Union Act changes. During 2017, new thresholds for voter-turnout and support during strike ballots will be introduced, along with increased notice requirements, tighter supervision of picketing and, potentially, facility time and cost reporting – primarily in the public sector (read our briefings. Ensure you understand the changes and how they apply to your organisation, given that they are expected to alter negotiation dynamics, during disputes and may lead to alternative forms of protest.


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