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One-in-six employers may have misreported gender pay gap

A statistician has analysed published gender pay gap figures and has concluded that around 9% of organisations have “definitely” made an error in their reporting, and a further 8% may have recorded an incorrect figure. Three of the most common errors are:

  1. Mathematical (for example claiming their gender pay gap is more than 100%, which would mean women are actually paying to work there)
  2. Entering their income quartiles the wrong way round (such as +9% rather than -9%)
  3. Claiming there is no pay gap where differences in pay quartiles between men and women show otherwise.


Taxation system similar to PAYE proposed for gig economy workers

The Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) has suggested gig economy firms should deduct tax from the earnings of self-employed workers in a system similar to PAYE. It said this would not change the employment status of the worker, and would remove the requirement for gig workers to complete a self-assessment tax return.

Its research paper – ‘Platforms, the Platform economy and Tax Simplification’ – stated that there were around five million self-employed workers across the UK – 1.3 million of whom work in the gig economy.


National Minimum Wage: 22,400 workers have been underpaid £1.44 million

The Government has published a new “naming and shaming” register which identifies 239 employers who have underpaid 22,400 workers £1.44 in back pay.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker. This report indicates that employers have been fined a total of £1.97 million.

The top five reasons for National Minimum and Living Wage underpayments in this round were:

  • Taking deductions from wages for costs, such as uniforms
  • Underpaying apprentices
  • Failing to pay travel time
  • Misusing the accommodation offset
  • Using the wrong time periods for calculating pay.


Government decides not to legislate to provide “caste” protection

Instead, it has said it will rely on emerging case law to provide appropriate protection.

Response to consultation: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/caste-in-great-britain-and-equality-law-a-public-consulation

HMRC's employment status tool criticised

HMRC have confirmed the mutuality of obligation test is not included in its Check Employment Status Tool (CEST). Mutuality of obligation is one of the main tests used in tax tribunals to work out whether a contractor is within IR35. However, the CEST tool does not consider it when determining a person's employment status as HMRC believes that, for a contract to exist between an employer and worker, mutuality of obligation must already be established.

Industry experts have criticised HMRC's decision to omit this element from CEST.


Updated Home Office guidance on right to work checks

On Friday 29 June 2018, the Home Office published an updated version of An Employer's Guide to Right to Work Checks. The main changes to the guide concern:

  • Steps employers should take if they consider a prospective employee presents information indicating they are a non-EEA national who has been a long-term lawful resident of the UK since before 1988, and does not possess acceptable right to work documentation
  • Further clarification on steps to take for existing employees
  • Clarification of the grace period in cases of TUPE transfers
  • Ending restrictions on the employment of Croatian nationals with effect from Wednesday 1 July 2018.


Government minister says employers have a duty to support menopausal women

During a House of Commons debate, Minister for Women Victoria Atkins said that employers should support menopausal women. A survey published by Public Health England found that 31% of women experience severe reproductive health problems and emphasised the mitigating potential of positive workplace environments.

She suggested that menopausal women would benefit from flexible work arrangements, specialist help from occupational health departments and environmental changes, such as USB desk fans and alternative uniforms. She also indicated that making menopause policies compulsory represents "part of our changing expectations of employers" but that these changes must be underpinned by "a culture in which women feel able to speak up about their symptoms."


New survey finds UK employees keen to stay in work beyond age 65

According to data from Canada Life Insurance, many employees now see working beyond 65 as a positive choice. Over 20% cite non-financial reasons for choosing to work, including enjoying their job and the social interaction working provides.

Employees are also not averse to making career moves past the age of 65. If they were considering looking for a new employer post 65, flexible working tops the priorities of UK workers (42%), ahead of companies with a good reputation for taking care of older workers (31%) and economic incentives (31%).

ACAS provides updated advice on overtime and holiday pay and suspensions

ACAS has published two new sets of guidance for employers, on overtime and suspensions. The guidance on overtime highlights the importance of setting out terms relating to it in employment contracts or staff handbooks. It urges both employers and workers to keep detailed records of the amount of overtime worked and how much time off has been taken in lieu. The guidance on suspensions provides employers with comprehensive advice on when to consider suspension from work.

New advice for employers on handling domestic abuse

Following consultations with employers, Public Health England and Business in the Community have published a domestic abuse toolkit to increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding domestic abuse. The toolkit aims to help employers create supportive working environments in which victims are encouraged to speak out. It also enables employers to identify any issues, and gives advice on referring victims to organisations for help.


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Employment update – July 2018

Key Contact

Emilie Cole