Commercial news update January 2018: Corporate Governance Reporting, GDPR, Geo-blocking ban

A new year brings new legal developments—here is your one-stop- shop for the key advances in 2018.

We focus on the commercial aspects, and look at the practical steps for you to consider.

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This month, we cover the following.

Corporate & Commercial—tune in from 0:20 secs
In 2018, we will see the impact of the EU Directive on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information. Certain companies will need to provide their impact on employees, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and anti-bribery. This is applicable from financial years starting on 1st January 2018.

We will be seeing Mrs May’s package of measures on corporate governance implemented in 2018. Changes include mandating listed companies to reveal the pay ratio between bosses and typical workers, the creation of a public register to identify companies that had significant shareholder opposition to executive pay and an initiative to give workers a voice at the boardroom table. The reforms will be in force by June 2018.

Data Security—tune in from 1:50 secs
GDPR will be in force on the 25th May 2018 with headlines stating the max fines will shift from £500,000 to the higher £20m or 4% of turnover. There will be tighter rules for obtaining consent – particularly for e-marketing and new data breach requirements.

In addition, the European Commission plan to replace the existing Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which is designed to catch new technologies such as WhatsApp that currently sit outside of it.

Employment—tune in from 3:25 secs
By 4th April 2018 private sector employers with at least 250 employees must publish gender pay differences.

From 6th April 2018, all payments in payments in lieu (PILON) for existing employees will be taxable and subject to national insurance.

In 2018 the 50 weeks shared parental leave and 37 weeks paid leave will be extended to include working grandparents. Specific dates are still to be confirmed.

We expect to see the outcomes of the two leading worker status cases in 2018; Pimlico Plumbers and Uber challenge the employers’ contention that the individuals they engaged were self-employed and did not have a right to minimum wage protection or holiday pay. Whatever happens it will be welcome clarity to this confused area of the law. Employers that wrongly assess the people they have engaged as self-employed rather than employees or workers risk significant claims.

The Asda equal pay case decision is expected in early 2018 which decided that there was equal value between staff engaged at their stores and their distribution centres and that, accordingly, their pay should be comparable.

In 2018 shop workers will have new rights to ‘opt out’ of additional Sunday working hours and there will be new duties on employers to notify employees of Sunday working rights.

Competition—tune in from 6:25 secs
A new European law to ban geo-blocking will likely be effective in 2018. There’s no exact date but it will soon be published in the EU Official Journal and the law will be in force nine months from the publication.

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