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Employment Matters - May 2023 - Independent Health

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By Hilary Larter & Ceri Fuller


Published 16 May 2023


In the past month the Government have issued  two new pieces of guidance - on ethnicity pay gap reporting and taking positive action. They have also announced a review of the UK’s whistleblowing framework.

On 10 May, the Government also announced the reversal of its approach regarding revocation of EU laws as well as its intention to make some small changes to the Working Time Regulations, TUPE and limiting non-compete clauses to three months as part of a number of regulatory reforms intended to grow the economy and cut costs for businesses.  All these developments are covered in this alert.

We’ve also included a case on without prejudice discussions and a case about restrictive covenants.

1. Termination discussions: Termination discussion was not “without prejudice”

The EAT has held that a termination discussion between an employer and an employee was not “without prejudice” because the parties were not contemplating litigation at the time of the discussion.

2. Restrictive covenants: 12 month non-compete covenant enforceable after words were severed from the covenant

The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision that words in a non-compete covenant could be severed from the clause with the result that a 12 month non-compete clause was enforceable.

3. Government announces intention to change the working time regulations, TUPE and non-compete clauses

On 10 May the Government published a policy paper “Smarter Regulation to Grow the Economy’ setting out a number of regulatory reforms intended to grow the economy and cut costs for businesses, following the UK’s departure from the EU.  The employment law measures included in the paper include removing reporting requirements from the Working Time Regulations 1998; simplifying the calculation of holiday; introducing a new exception from the application of the TUPE Regulations to smaller businesses; and limiting non-compete clauses to three months.

4. Voluntary ethnicity pay gap reporting: Government guidance for employers issued

For the first time, the Government has issued guidance on ethnicity pay gap reporting, aiming to help employers  who wish to voluntarily report their ethnicity pay gap make meaningful comparisons, allowing for meaningful action to reduce any gaps.

5. Positive action in the workplace: Government guidance published

The Government has published guidance to help employers navigate the complexities around lawful positive action.

6. Whistleblowing: Government review of whistleblowing laws

The Government has launched a review of the UK’s current whistleblowing framework.

7. Private members’ bills progress through Parliament

The employment related Private Members’ Bills we have been tracking are continuing to make their way through Parliament.