Looking at the pandemic first, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended to 31 March. Employers can currently claim 80% of an employee’s wages, capped at £2,500, for hours not worked. The level of employer contribution will be reviewed at the end of January. It is not clear what support (if any) will be offered from April onwards.
Employers using the scheme need to assess how they will transition out of it and whether restructuring may be required. If 20 or more redundancies are likely, remember that the statutory consultation framework will apply, imposing a minimum of 30 days between the start of consultation and the first redundancy taking effect.
Turning to other issues:
A number of Government initiatives are currently awaiting implementation. These include:
It is not clear if 2021 will be the year when these initiatives are put into action.
Religion and belief continues to raise interesting issues. In 2021 we can expect appeal judgments on whether vegetarianism can be a belief meriting protection. In addition, whether it is discriminatory to discipline an individual who, on religious grounds, refuses to refer to transgender people by their preferred pronouns.
It is likely that there will be a return to gender pay gap reporting following suspension as a result of the pandemic.
In an uncertain labour market the use of contractors and gig workers is likely to increase. This might be a win/win for employers and the highly skilled. For others it is more problematic. To address this we can expect the Government to begin to increase protections for those who fall outside traditional employment, for example around exclusivity clauses and continuous employment.
In 2021 the UK Supreme Court will be looking at or giving judgment on the following important issues:
This article was originally published by Business Leader.