13 Feb 2019

A round-up of developments in UK employment law which HR teams need to know about.

As a law firm supporting organisations which drive the innovation economy (regardless of size or sector), we’ve spent a lot of time in recent months focusing on what the future of work means for business.

For HR practitioners and those involved in or advising on people issues within organisations, there are two distinct, but equally important, considerations.

First, there is the issue of how all of this change impacts on your own future workforce strategy, at a practical level. I have written previously that businesses should be asking themselves some searching questions now about five key topics: technology, location, people, organisational structures and values. Our lead article this month focuses on the first of these – and, in particular, some practical steps that businesses might consider in introducing technology into the workplace.

Technology is likely to play an increased role in analysing the high volume of data that is now part of everyday business. With this, comes an increased responsibility to safeguard personal data. Data privacy issues are more relevant than ever before to HR and people management. Our team of HR Data specialists, spearheaded by Rachel Ashwood and Razia Begum, have contributed no fewer than three articles this month on this subject.

The increased use of technology and importance of data privacy also gives rise to some broader ethical issues. Peter Finding considers the subject of ethical innovation in more detail, in his article on “The Rise of the Ethical Corporate Disruptor”.

Secondly, businesses continue to operate within an employment law system that is struggling to keep pace with modern working practices. James Murray reflects on the Government’s recently-published Good Work Plan, which has confirmed that several of the Taylor Review’s recommendations will be enshrined in law. However, it is disappointingly non-committal on the most important issue of all – namely, how the rules on employment status will be clarified.

To highlight the very uncertainty this causes, James also analyses the recent Court of Appeal decision in the long-running Uber litigation. Whilst confirming that Uber drivers are “workers”, this was not the unanimous view of all of the appeal judges. Next stop, the Supreme Court for a final, definitive judgment (for Uber and its drivers, at least).

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