Despite resolving to close an exploited loophole on ferry worker pay, the government has stopped short of an amendment to UK national minimum wage legislation.

In October 2020, legislative changes extended the minimum wage to most seafarers working on ships in UK waters, regardless of where a ship was registered, but those working on ferries (other than between UK ports) were not included, leaving scope for operators to hire crew on international routes on hourly rates below the UK minimums. In the absence of reasonable minimum wages, ferry operators can gain a competitive advantage by driving down wage levels.

Recent events have drawn attention to this practice, and in an announcement this week, the Transport Secretary set out the government’s plan to address some of the pay issues in response to this.

While recognising that a minimum floor is needed to prevent the competitive driving down of wages, and to ensure appropriate and fair levels of pay for ferry workers, the reality of pay arrangements across international borders is not straightforward.
Continue Reading Ferry workers’ pay is still at sea

Following the unexpected victory by the Conservatives in the UK general election on 7 May, the Government has announced its programme for the next session of Parliament. Amongst its proposals, the Government is proposing new laws regulating the ability to take lawful strike action.

The new proposals will require a 50% voter turnout threshold in strike ballots, while retaining the condition that a simple majority of those votes must be in favour of industrial action.

Additionally, the new proposals will require that 40% of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action in certain essential public services (health, education, fire and transport). The Bill will also introduce time limits on a mandate following a ballot for industrial action. The Conservatives proposed in their manifesto that employers would be allowed to use agency workers to cover for striking employees. No mention of this proposal was made in the Queen’s Speech, so we will have to wait for the Bill to be published before we see if this proposal becomes reality.

Continue Reading UK Government reveals new legislative programme – Implications for employment law

The sun may have finally decided to make an appearance but this is no indication of a relaxing summer break for employment specialists!

A number of key employment law provisions came into force on 25 June 2013, with 29 July 2013 as the next key date for legislative reform. We take a look at what employment-related legislative changes are in store this summer.

Continue Reading UK Legislative Reform – No Summer Break

Employers are becoming more aware of the impact of Facebook and the type of information it can reveal. Some employers use Facebook to find background or character information about their employees or job applicants. Other employers use Facebook to find out whether employees have disclosed information about the employer’s business. Some employers are taking it a step further by requesting that job applicants and/or current employees disclose their Facebook user name and password. Other employers are asking applicants and/or employees to "friend" its human resource manager or log into a company computer during interviews to view their Facebook content.


Continue Reading Accessing Facebook Through Employers: Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze?

The Government has recently issued a new “Call for Evidence”, Dealing with dismissal and “Compensated no fault dismissal” for micro businesses.  The main aim of the paper is to gather evidence from businesses to establish what can be done to encourage small employers to recruit more employees, whilst at the same time ensuring some protection for employee rights. The paper also aims to gather evidence regarding the dismissal process, and in particular how well the 2009 Acas Code works in the case of dismissals for underperformance. 

Continue Reading Dealing with dismissal and compensated no fault dismissal for micro businesses

UK employment lawyers and HR professionals need to be on the alert this year to keep up with the numerous consultations and proposals which have been or are expected to be initiated by the Government. The key developments this year will be the increase in April in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal rights from one to two years and, in October, the introduction of the new pensions auto-enrolment rules but more is in the pipeline. 

Continue Reading What’s coming up in UK employment law in 2012?

The Government has today announced what it describes as “the most radical reform to the employment law system for decades”. In a speech to EEF, the UK manufacturers’ organisation, Vince Cable outlined the results of the Government’s recent consultation on Resolving Workplace Disputes and the recent Red Tape Challenge Review of employment law.

The proposals

Employers could face significant unanticipated penalties under TUPE and collective redundancy legislation as a result of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) which came into force on 1 October 2011.

The AWR adds to the list of mandatory information to be provided to employee representatives under TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations

In a speech this afternoon to the Conservative Party Conference, George Osborne Chancellor of the Exchequer has confirmed that the qualifying period for standard unfair dismissal claims is to be increased from one year to two from 6 April 2012. This statement does not come as a great surprise since the issue was the subject