8 Jun 2017

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

With another General Election campaign coming to an end, everyone is talking about important national issues such as Brexit, the NHS and national security (and rightly so).

However, it has been surprising to see just how prominent employment and worker rights have been in driving debate as well. It is clear that much of this arises from the continued growth of the gig economy and concerns over exploitation of low-paid workers, which has captured widespread public attention over the past year or so.

It is within this context that Taylor Vinters has recently submitted its response to the Government-initiated Taylor Review of Employment Practices in the Modern Economy. We see this as a real opportunity for some fresh thinking around how the law can provide maximum flexibility for innovative business models, while protecting the most vulnerable workers.

This follows on from our submission to the earlier BEIS Inquiry on the Future World of Work. Our subsequent, further thinking around these issues has been informed by discussions with some of our clients and the business drivers that determine the way in which they engage their workforces. These have provided some really interesting insight to complement and inform our own conclusions.

One thing that does concern me is that the various election manifestos do not say much about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on the workplace. For many employers, this will be an influential factor in their future strategic HR and workforce planning. We need politicians who are forward-thinking on these issues and engage with business leaders, to ensure that the opportunities created by ever more sophisticated technology are embraced and managed in the right way.

As the leading law firm for innovators and entrepreneurs, we will remain at the forefront of thought leadership in this hugely important area and will be continuing the conversation over the next few months.

This is also a good opportunity for me to welcome back Shelley King, who has recently returned after a period of maternity leave. Many of you will have worked with Shelley in the past and it’s great to have her back in the team.

Finally, we have a wide variety of articles this month from the team on a diverse range of subjects including whistleblowing, recruitment practices, mental health in the workplace and data protection.  Please enjoy them and let us know what you think.  With time ticking before the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force next year, we will be sending regular updates with top tips on how to prepare in good time, in addition to our regular employment newsletter.  Please contact Rachel Ashwood or Razia Begum if you would like to know more.

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