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Global employment briefing: United Kingdom, September 2018

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law


The following update forms part of our Global employment briefing and is intended to provide an overview of recent British employment law developments of interest to global HR practitioners:

Focus on executive pay

As part of a series of corporate governance reforms announced last year, the Government disclosed plans to extend pay gap reporting further by requiring listed companies to publish and justify pay ratios between Chief Executives (CEOs) and their staff. Over this summer, regulations were finalised which bring those reporting requirements into effect next year.

The employee relations consequences could prove significant for public companies affected by these changes. What is less clear is how they might affect firms’ reputations and what the reaction of customers, workers, investors and other stakeholders might be in the court of public opinion. For further information, read our briefing.

Brexit: Deal or no deal?

The pace of Brexit developments is increasing after a relatively quiet summer. However, uncertainty continues for employers and some have decided to execute their contingency plans, unable to delay acting any longer.

While UK employment law is unlikely to change in the near future, whether or not there is a deal with the EU on the terms of Brexit, the focus remains on immigration and whether businesses will be able to recruit the workers they need given the end of EU freedom of movement sooner or later.

For further information on the UK Government’s proposals for Brexit, read our briefing. For our overview of how different Brexit deals could affect employment and immigration, read our September Brexit update here.

Other recent developments

Parliament has agreed new legislation that will give two weeks’ paid bereavement leave to parents who lose a child under the age of 18. It is not expected to be implemented until 2020 and many larger employers already allow longer time off.

The national minimum wage remains a high risk area for many employers, given its complexity and, sometimes, inflexible rules. The Government’s enforcement body, HMRC, has increased efforts to boost compliance and employers are regularly ‘named and shamed’ where underpayment is identified. In September, the Government announced a record £15.6 million of underpayment identified for more than 200,000 workers, with employers fined an unprecedented £14 million for not meeting legal obligations and more than 600 employers named in 2017/18 as part of ‘naming and shaming’.

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