Electra HR

Things to Consider in Employment Law This Year

With the start of 2021 already seeing the departure of the UK from the EU and different aspects of employment law changing, employment law departments will need to be aware of some of these changes to ensure they are forward thinking and proactive.

Brexit is a key thing to consider this year in employment law. The UK can now officially depart from EU employment law however this is probably not going to be the case any time soon. What will make a difference as a result of Brexit is who is able to be employed in the UK. A point-based immigration system being introduced means a visa will be required for EU and EEA nationals before they can reside or work in the UK, with Irish nationals being the only exception to this. The only exemption for EU and EEA nationals is if they have pre-settled or settled status under the UK’s EU settlement scheme. This is something that businesses will need to be mindful of when hiring and doing pre-screening checks.

A big development continuing from 2020 is how much more inclusive and diverse workforces should aim to be. Last year saw the Black Lives Matter movement extremely influential and it continues to flourish today. Ensuring that there are no discrepancies in the hiring process and that all factors are taken into consideration for individuals will be a major step forward in ensuring a diverse workforce. There are currently talks of the government introducing an ethnicity pay gap reporting measure where all pay would need to be totally transparent. Any shortcomings would need to be adequately addressed to ensure there is equality across the board.

Another big change to consider in employment law is the way that the pandemic has shaped working life more generally and what this means in post-pandemic life. Remote working is so common now that many businesses have decided to fully operate in this way forever more. With this evolving nature it poses the question about equal pay across the board. Given that employees will not be working from the same jurisdiction and that the geography of where you are is more or less irrelevant, then the fact that pay varies depending on the city you work will also need to be considered.

Some employees may argue for equal pay as they are in the same role but being paid differently, especially for those being paid more in the London centric bracket. Moreover, the pandemic brought about the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) which is set to stop in April. Something that businesses and those in employment law will be wondering is what help will be provided after this date for businesses to protect jobs and avoid redundancies. Time will only tell as to the extended help which will be made available, but it is another area for employment law professionals to keep tabs on.

2021 is shaping up to be an interesting and evolutionary year for employment law. With all the aforementioned developments in mind, employment law professionals and businesses will be well equipped to deal with the changes.

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