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Employment Law Journal: April 2016
Keystone Law

Proposals to integrate employment tribunals into the court system and scrap lay members are misguided, argues Stephen Levinson

This article examines two recent developments in the world of employment tribunals. First, the proposal to strip these tribunals of their special identity, as made by Briggs LJ in his interim report on the civil justice system published in December. Second, the new regulations, described as unnecessary by the Employment Lawyers Association and most consultees, which will come into force on 6 April 2016 on postponements of hearings.

As the national living wage comes into force, Omer Simjee investigates the issues facing employers

The national living wage, which came into force on 1 April, is a misnomer. It is a confusing label for what is in reality the introduction of a new rate of the national minimum wage (NMW) for individuals who are aged 25 or over. It bears no resemblance (other than the plagiarism of the name) to the actual living wage. This was established by the Living Wage Foundation approximately 15 years ago and is a voluntary hourly rate set independently and updated annually, based on the cost of a basic basket of goods to determine the actual cost of living. Rates for the living wage are currently £9.40 in London and £8.20 throughout the rest of the UK.

Mark Stevens discusses the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy and the employment law issues that arise from this type of training programme

In the run up to last year’s election, the Conservative party pledged to create three million new post-16 apprenticeships by 2020. Since then, there have been a number of important announcements about apprenticeships that will have a significant impact on all employers across England. This article sets out the outcomes of the recent consultation on the so-called Apprenticeship Levy and some of the legal issues that arise from apprenticeship arrangements and the risks associated with these arrangements.

Helen Cookson and Anna Scott analyse the EAT’s decision in the long-running case of Lock v British Gas Trading

In February, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) handed down its much anticipated judgment in Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd [2016]. It confirmed that the Working Time Regulations 1998 (the regulations) can be interpreted in line with the Working Time Directive (the directive), which requires commission to be taken into account when calculating holiday pay. However, there is still much to be resolved, not least how to determine the issue of calculating reference periods, which will have to wait for another day. Nevertheless, this judgment is an important part of an increasingly complex jigsaw.

In the first part of a new series, Charlie Bowden rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Vicarious liability – ‘close connection’ test still good law

Annabel Gillham, Andrew Taggart and Hannah Lau consider whether the draft gender pay gap regulations are fit for purpose and whether they will act as a catalyst for private sector litigation

The government recently published the draft Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016, together with a short consultation document for which responses were required by 11 March 2016. Final regulations are expected by this summer, to come into force from October 2016. Large private and voluntary sector employers must take a snapshot of pay data in April 2017 and publish it within 12 months (by 30 April 2018). The reporting obligations will be extended to the public sector in due course.

The rise of independent contractors and Uber-style working models is posing a challenge for policy makers and law courts around the world, explains Sean Nesbitt

The US is awash with stories of the end of the lifetime career and the economic security that came with it. Its feared replacement is a new economy in which businesses are intent on recasting full-time employees into contractors, freelancers and temporary workers. It is an economic transformation that promises greater flexibilities and efficiencies for workers and businesses alike: but at what cost?

Joanna Chatterton and Ed Livingstone give advice on how to avoid discriminating against job applicants

It is not only employees and other workers who can bring discrimination claims against an employer – job candidates can too. The recruitment process is fraught with risk, in particular the potential to fall foul of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA).