26 Mar 2019

The Government has launched a number of consultations recently that concern employment law. They are open to the public and you may be interested in responding.

A consultation on boosting protection for pregnant women and new parents returning from leave runs until 5 April. It is proposed that pregnant women and new mothers will have protection against redundancy for up to six months after they return to work. The same protection could also be given to parents returning from adoption leave or shared parental leave. The consultation also notes that the Government intends to seek views on the three month time limit for bringing a discrimination claim.

Secondly, the Government is consulting on proposals to improve the regulation of confidentiality clauses (also known as non-disclosure agreements or NDAs). New legislation would make it clear that NDAs cannot be used to prevent people reporting crimes, harassment or discrimination to the Police, and would extend the law to ensure the individual receives independent legal advice on the limitations. This one closes on 29 April.

Extending the rules on off-payroll working in the private sector is the subject of the third consultation. This is intended to apply from April 2020 and will affect organisations that contract with individuals via personal service companies. This is open until 28 May.

Over the last few years there have been a number of moves to reform public sector exit payments. The most advanced one is the introduction of a cap of £95,000. Before it can be introduced, another consultation needs to take place and HM Treasury has said that it intends to consult "in the short term". No date has been confirmed but it is unlikely that any regulations would come into force before autumn 2019 at the earliest. In addition, there may be further announcements regarding other reforms to exit payments, such as repayment where the individual returns to the public sector within 12 months.