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Paul McGrath advises clients across a broad range of industry sectors in all areas of contentious and non-contentious UK employment law. His practice covers all aspects of UK employment legislation and day-to-day employment matters, including appointments and terminations, employment status and worker classification issues, employee handbooks and policies, employee data privacy, disciplinary and grievance issues, and restructuring and redundancy exercises. Read Paul McGrath's full bio.

The UK Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld the Employment Tribunal’s finding that Uber drivers are “workers”. It rejected Uber’s argument that Uber is simply a technology platform acting as an agent to connect self-employed Uber drivers with users of the ride-hailing app.

What Is the Issue?

The United Kingdom recognises three categories of employment status: employees, workers and self-employed contractors, each with varying levels of protection under employment law. Employees and workers are afforded greater protection than self-employed contractors, with employees having the full suite of UK employment rights. Workers are entitled to core rights such as statutory holidays, sick pay and breaks, and national minimum wage.

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McDermott’s “Key Employment Law Events in 2017 and Beyond” update highlighted the upcoming regulations requiring certain employers to report on the gender pay gap in their workforce (Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017) (the Regulations). Under these Regulations, from April 2017, large private and voluntary sector UK employers will be required annually to calculate and publish a range of gender pay information regarding their workforce.

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Current indications are that 2017 may be a fairly static year as regards to employment law.

Whilst it is anticipated the government will trigger Article 50 to start Brexit negotiations, these are likely to last for at least two years, and existing employment laws are unlikely to feel any ripple effect from leaving the European Union for some time.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister has asked for a review, expected to take around six months, on whether current employment laws are adequate to protect the rights of the growing numbers of atypical workers. It is unlikely though that any resulting changes will come into effect in 2017.

There are, however, a number of key developments that employers will definitely need to get to grips with, or at least prepare for, in 2017.

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*Cindy LaMontagne (Trainee) contributed to this article.

As you may have seen from the extensive press coverage, the UK Employment Tribunal has delivered its much anticipated judgment in Aslam and Farrar v Uber. The case was about whether Uber drivers are self-employed contractors, or are “workers” with rights to minimum wage, statutory holidays, sick pay and breaks, amongst other workers’ rights.

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Don’t panic. The United Kingdom will continue to be an EU Member State until procedures are completed for exiting the European Union, which is likely to be at least two years. Until a withdrawal agreement is reached, EU laws and treaties will still apply, including the right for EU nationals to work in the United Kingdom. This means that all current EU-derived employment laws should remain in place for at least two years.

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A new obligation has been introduced requiring large commercial organisations operating in the United Kingdom to publish a “slavery and human trafficking statement” at the end of each financial year.

The requirement extends to all commercial organisations in any part of a group structure (wherever incorporated, and whether a company or a partnership) that carry on a business, or part of a business, supplying goods or services in any sector in the United Kingdom and have annual turnover of at least £36 million. This includes the turnover of any subsidiary undertakings, regardless of where those subsidiaries are based or operate.

Read the full UK Employment Alert.