Littler Global Guide - United Kingdom - Q2 2017

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

View all Q2 2017 Global Guide Quarterly updates

Apprenticeship Levy Comes into Effect, Effective April 6, 2017

New Legislation Enacted

Effective April 6, 2017, the Apprenticeship Levy (contained in sections 98 – 121 of the Finance Act 2016) has been in force. The levy is intended to fund the costs of training and assessing apprenticeships. The cost of the levy will be set at 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill and only employers with a pay bill of more than £3 million will be liable to pay the levy. The levy will be paid via payroll on a monthly basis.

Court of Appeal: When Notice of Termination is Deemed Delivered to an Employee

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

The Court of Appeal has held that, in the absence of an express contractual term, notice of termination takes effect from the date it is actually received by the employee. In this case the employee had been on holiday and did not receive the letter containing notice until her return, meaning that the she was entitled to a higher-rate pension. This case shows the importance of express contractual language setting out when notice of termination is effective. Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust v. Haywood [2017] EWCA Civ 153

Court of Appeal Clarifies Scope of Obligation to Comply with Data Subject Access Requests

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Across the EU, data privacy laws in each country allow individuals to request information on all data an organization (including an employer) holds on them. This is typically called a data subject access request (DSAR). The UK’s Court of Appeal recently offered some useful guidance on the scope of the organization’s obligations to comply with a DSAR under UK law. First, the court indicated that to avoid providing the information sought because it would involve “disproportionate effort,” the organization must be able to show that they have considered the scope of the request and how much effort compliance would entail (in other words, they cannot simply assume it would be too much effort). Secondly, the court found that there is no automatic rule that DSARs made to obtain documents for litigation are an abuse of process. Dawson-Damer & Ors v. Taylor Wessing LLP [2017] EWCA Civ 74

Court of Appeal Finds Plumber Was Incorrectly Classified as Independent Contractor in Latest Employment Status Case

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

In the most recent case involving definitions of employment status in UK law, the Court of Appeal held that a plumber who was contractually described as self-employed was in fact a “worker” – an intermediate status between “employee” and “independent contractor” – and therefore entitled to a limited number of employment rights, including holiday pay. This decision was largely based on the finding that the plumber was required to undertake work personally. Other factors included the onerous restrictive covenants that the plumber was subject to and a requirement that he work a certain number of hours each week. The case shows that courts are increasingly willing to look beyond a contract to examine the practical reality of the working relationship to assess employment status, meaning that express contractual wording will not always negate the risk to employers of an adverse finding on employment status. The Supreme Court is likely to grant permission to appeal to Pimlico Plumbers, meaning that further developments in this area are to be expected over the next year. Pimlico Plumbers Limited & Anor v. Smith [2017] EWCA Civ 51

Supreme Court Clarifies How to Calculate a Day’s Pay in Striking Teachers Dispute

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On May 24, 2017, the Supreme Court held that the correct way to calculate a day’s pay for the purposes of deducting pay following strike action was to find 1/365th, rather than 1/260th, of annual salary, unless there is an express provision in the employment contract to the contrary. This was because the employees had annual contracts where work could be spread across the year and the salary was indivisible between types of work (e.g. teaching time in school and preparation work done outside of school). However, there is contradictory authority in this area so it is wise to include express contractual language dealing with this point to minimize the risk of disputes. In the UK, it is typical to include an express provision which almost always provides for a 1/260th formula for pro-rating (based on the number of normal working days in a year). Hartley & others v. King Edward VI College [2017] UKSC 39

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.