16 October 2017
Five main changes and developments affecting small businesses
1. Employment Tribunal fees have been removed
In July, the Supreme Court ruled that tribunal fees are unlawful and a barrier to justice, abolishing them with immediate effect. As a result of this ruling, if an employee feels that their employer has treated them unfairly, there is nothing to stop them making a claim.
With this in mind, Employers should consider what action they need to take, especially considering that all tribunal judgements are now published publicly.
2. More than 100 employers have been ‘named and shamed’ for failing to pay just one worker the National Minimum Wage
In total, 13,000 employees are set to receive compensation of a record £2 million for their loss of pay. 115 of these employers have been named for failing to pay just one worker the minimum wage, highlighting the extent of the government’s investigations and reiterating that any underpayment, regardless of its size, can attract significant attention.
With no sign of their investigation losing momentum, £25.3 million will be spent on minimum wage enforcement in 2017-18.
3. Making Health and Safety a priority
Taking the time to arrange a workplace risk assessment could reduce the risk of any accidents and the associated human and business costs.
Every organisation, regardless of its size, should consider Health & Safety a key priority to ensure it not only avoids illness and injury, but also remains an efficient, profitable business.
4. There are reason for small employers to publish their gender pay findings
For organisations with more than 250 employees, gender pay reporting is a legal requirement. For those with a smaller workforce, there are still many reasons why employers are choosing to publish their gender pay gaps prior to April 2018.
With gender pay comparisons attracting more attention in the lead-up to April, calculating and publishing your pay gap will assure employees of your ethical and conscientious approach.
There is still ample time to process the calculations and take action accordingly on any disparity, thus avoiding the risk of future dispute.
5. The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 will bring significant changes
GDPR is due to come into force on 25 May next year and the new regulations will include important changes to the rules governing subject access requests.
The new regulations will replace the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), and will apply to processing carried out by organisations operating within the EU. They will also apply to organisations outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals within the EU.
Under the new regulations, the way that data is handled and the processes which must be obeyed are likely to change for many organisations of all sizes.
The key consideration of GDPR is whether you are lawfully processing and storing data. For many, the question will typically be, do you have explicit consent to process data in the way you are doing?
Build UK members can access free advice from Croner on employment issues including discipline, redundancy and ill health on 0844 249 9873.