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Vicarious Liability. It’s the time of year again for the obligatory employment law article warning about the dangers of the office Christmas party!  We lawyers must have been very good this year as a present has landed right on our doorstep, in the form of the High Court (England & Wales) decision of Bellman V Northampton Recruitment Ltd.  

The Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) launch the new Simple Procedure for payment claims of up to £5,000 on 28th November 2016.  This will replace and streamline the two current and separate procedures of Small Claims for debts up to £3,000 and Summary Cause for debts over £3,000 but under £5,001.

New rules set out how a claim will be made, detailing the forms to be completed and the procedures that must be followed. Claims will still be made on paper for now but it is anticipated the new Civil Online portal, allowing forms to be submitted electronically, will be introduced in early 2017.  

The emphasis on work experience in recruitment, especially in relation to graduates, has increased hugely in recent years. In 2015, the Independent reported that 58% of employers now rate work experience as more important than grades or a student’s personality when hiring graduates.

According to the BBC in 2013, 61% of graduates end up working for the company or firm that they have interned with. This is likely to be in part because employers will, unsurprisingly, find it much easier to judge whether an individual is a suitable fit for their business after having them work for a few weeks rather than trying to come to a verdict in a 30 minute job interview.

Pay Gap Reporting

Background and Compliance

It is anticipated the Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 will be approved this month, meaning they will come into effect in April 2017.  As previously identified in our blog, the 2016 Regulations will only apply to employers who have 250 or more ‘relevant employees’.

A London Employment Tribunal on Friday issued a judgement which could have wide-reaching implications for the so-called “gig economy”, whereby individuals and businesses engage on a short term, flexible basis. It has been argued that this model involves exploitation.  

The Tribunal ruled that two drivers who provided services to Uber were “workers” for the purposes of UK employment law and not self-employed with significant implications for their rights and protections. 

In January we reported on the provisions of the Succession (Scotland) Bill 2016, which went on to receive Royal Assent on 3 March 2016. While some administrative provisions came into force on 4 March, the remaining sections will come into full effect on 1 November.  

This insight reports on the main changes.

There are a number of issues and risks that employers of women who are pregnant, on maternity leave, or returning to work following maternity or share parental leave need to be aware of.

In last week’s blog we discussed issues of potential sex discrimination when offering enhanced Shared Parental Leave terms to expectant mothers but not to fathers. Another important issue that employers should think about are the particular responsibilities they have towards women who are breastfeeding. Although there is no free-standing right to time off for breast feeding, breastfeeding mothers have a number of legal protections.

Prenuptial agreements (or ante-nuptial/pre-marriage contracts) have become increasingly popular in Scotland, with more couples wishing to make provision for what is to happen in the unfortunate event of the breakdown of their relationship.  

It could be said that entering into a prenuptial agreement is a very pessimistic way to commence a marriage.  It can however be a very effective financial planning tool for both parties and can help to avoid costly and drawn out litigation in the event of separation.  

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