Employment Law & HR News & Updates.

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Top 3 Employment Law Appeals to Watch in 2019

employment law appeals solicitors london

Multiple questions surrounding employment law legislation are on the table in the upcoming year, with a number of important appeals going before the domestic courts. Below are the top three that we at KLG think you should be aware of.

The gig economy

Last year, we reported on the court cases related to the status of workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’. Significant decisions were made concerning whether workers for companies such as Deliveroo or Uber can be classed as ‘employees’, and therefore afford the same rights and protections as employees rather than freelance contractors.

However, these decisions are up for appeal in 2019. An appeal to the Supreme Court on Aslam and Others v Uber BV and others, where the Court of Appeal last month decided that Uber drivers are self-employed, is a possibility.

Meanwhile, a collection of Deliveroo riders have approached the issue of their status as employees from a different angle, requesting the recognition of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWUGB), a trade union for gig economy workers, by the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC). After an unsuccessful judicial review in the High Court of CAC’s rejection of this recognition, IWUGB has indicated on Twitter that they will appeal the decision. If an application to appeal is accepted, it will be heard by the Court of Appeal.

Sleep-in workers

In 2018, the Court of Appeal made the controversial ruling in Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake that so-called ‘sleep-in’ workers - those who are permitted to sleep on-call at work, such as overnight care-workers - are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) while they are asleep. The decision means that workers who are required to be at work at night but who are permitted to sleep in between being called upon for help, do not need to be paid the NMW. Instead, the Court of Appeal said that employers only need to pay the NMW to sleep-in workers when they are awake and ‘available’ to work.

The trade union Unison has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The decision will have widespread consequences for industries where workers are permitted to sleep while on-call.

Trade Union-Employer-Employee relationships

The matter of Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley and others will be heard by the Court of Appeal in 2019, in a case determining the scope of legislation which restricts the ability of employers to bring an end to collective bargaining. The case, involving an employer who put a revised pay package directly to employees, raises the question of how far UK legislation goes in stopping negotiations with trade unions, and whether it forbids any direct offer to employees outside of collective bargaining.

The case will have significant financial consequences for employers who wish to deal with employees directly when they feel that collective bargaining is breaking down, as employment tribunals can order employers to pay a fixed award of over £4,000 to individual claimants if they are deemed to have breached regulations.

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