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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Employment Law Journal: September 2015

Rebecca McGuirk analyses recent case law on the scope of ‘working time’, including the treatment of travel time, trade union duties, holiday pay and voluntary overtime

The cost of wages and holiday pay looks set to increase following a number of recent court decisions that have expanded the interpretation of working time in employees’ favour. The cases considered time spent travelling to and from the first and last customers of the day, time spent attending trade union meetings, whether holiday pay should include purely voluntary overtime and the carry-over of holiday from one leave year to the next.

Sarah Fitzpatrick throws some light on a little used legal provision which has potentially huge significance for employers with collective bargaining agreements with unions

Picture the scene: an employer is proposing to change terms and conditions across a large workforce. There is a union recognition agreement giving independent trade unions collective bargaining rights. The employer engages in meaningful consultation with the unions. So far, so good. However, they simply can’t reach agreement on the change of terms. So what does the employer do now? Stick to the status quo, with employment continuing on the same terms and conditions which the employer sought to change? Or seek to secure agreement by issuing the terms directly to the individuals?

Proposals to make it harder to take industrial action may be less beneficial for employers than the government expects, suggests Tom Kerr-Williams

Proposals for what The Guardian newspaper has described as the biggest crackdown on trade union action for 30 years were unveiled by the government on 15 July 2015. The Trade Union Bill follows a Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce measures to ‘restore confidence’ in trade unions, including proposals to prevent what the manifesto calls ‘disruptive and undemocratic’ strike action.

The requirements for making a protected disclosure were recently considered by the EAT, report Mark Kaye and Charlie Bowden

By making significant changes to the legislation underpinning protected disclosures, such as the removal of the good faith requirement and the introduction of the ‘public interest test’, the government has sought to address a number of the challenges that whistleblowers face. The drafting of the law, however, continues to encourage employees to raise matters with their employers in the first instance. The recent case of Barton v Royal Borough of Greenwich [2015] demonstrates the difficulties that employees can face when they resist this encouragement.

Emily Russell and Andrew Taggart outline a recent case on whether US or EU law applied to an employment dispute

In July 2015, the Court of Appeal considered a number of difficult issues which regularly arise in a cross-border employment context (James Petter v EMC Europe Ltd [2015]).

Stuart Jones and David Miers investigate the trend for employees to relaunch employment claims in the civil courts

To the dismay and despair of many employers, it is not uncommon for an employment dispute, thought to be done and dusted, to raise its head some time later in a completely different forum.

Rebecca Harding-Hill explores the impact on employers of mandatory reporting of differences in what men and women earn

In July 2015, a consultation was launched on regulations requiring companies with 250 or more employees to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees. The aim is to create transparency and lead employers to take steps to address gender pay inequality. Additionally, the government is introducing a new national living wage, which it also hopes will help to address the gender pay gap, as women make up a large proportion of low-wage workers.