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Welcome to 2019!
Here's an overview of the in-house legal horizon for 2019.
You will find updates across Brexit, Corporate & Commercial, Data Security, Employment, Consumer and Competition law.
We focus on the commercial aspects and look at the practical steps for you to consider.
Watch this video or click on the content/links below for more information.
The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on the 29th March 2019. There are broadly three options: a 'cliff edge' no deal and transition to the WTO rules; remaining in the EU or transitional arrangements which are proposed to end on 31 December
Until a decision is made, it’s difficult to make plans however we recommend some contingency work, particularly for businesses that rely on European workers. European workers currently living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status
in 2019, allowing them to remain indefinitely in the UK.
We’ll keep you updated with practical guidance as the Brexit news develops.
Corporate Governance reforms
New annual corporate governance reporting requirements will apply to financial years starting since the 1st January.
See LNB News: New corporate governance code for large private companies launched and Practice Note: Corporate governance for private companies
Planned changes to the ePrivacy Regulation
The European Commission's planned replacement of the existing Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations (‘PECR’) was postponed in 2018 and we do not yet have any
implementation date but anticipate that it will be in the second half of 2019.
The proposed regulation has some worrying changes - further information on these can be found via the link below.
See: ePrivacy Regulation—timeline
We expect to hear the final determination of the Court of Appeal King v Sash Window case. In this case it has already been decided that King was wrongly classified as self-employed rather than being a worker. The outstanding question is how much
holiday back pay he should be paid.
The Taylor review in 2017 also focussed on the gig economy and made many recommendations. One recommendation was to ensure every worker (rather than only employees) has the right to an itemised pay statement. Following an amendment to the Employment Rights
Act 1996 this change will be law from 6 April.
See LNB News: Government’s Good Work Plan to take forward Taylor Review recommendations
There were some important cases on equal pay in 2018 involving the big supermarkets. Asda's case is the most
advanced and was heard by the Court of Appeal in October. We expect to hear
the outcome early this year but suspect that there will be further appeals.
Shared paternity leave
Last year’s Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decisions in Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd and Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police both related to shared parental leave and whether it is sex discrimination to deny male employees
the chance to receive enhanced pay whilst taking shared parental leave equivalent to the enhanced maternity pay available to female colleagues. The EAT decisions had some inconsistencies and both are being appealed to the Court of Appeal. Its
expected that the hearings will take place separately in May.
Gender pay gap reporting
Private organisations with 250 or more employees will again be required to publish their gender pay gap figures on the 4th April. We anticipate that they will be heavily scrutinised to
identify what efforts have been made to address any significant pay disparity highlighted in the 2018 figures.
See LNB News: EHRC calls on employers to take meaningful action against the gender pay gap
Pay rates and a rise in minimum contributions to auto-enrolment
There will be the usual rises to minimum wage rates in April and the minimum contributions for auto-enrolment pension schemes will increase for both employers from 2% to 3% and employees from 3% to 5%.
The Governments 2018 Modernising Consumer Markets consultation set out three principles to improve consumer markets:
Some of the proposed regulatory changes include:
There’s not yet a time-line on these plans although we are already seeing action in some areas.
In September last year the Citizens Advice Bureau launched a super complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority over its concerns that
loyal customers who stay with their providers (often on default or roll over contracts) can end up paying significantly higher rates than new customers enticed with more favourable offers and rewards.
In addition, the EU has announced its planned package of reforms to deliver a new deal for consumers, these include:
We expect the proposals to be law by May 2019 but that there will be a 2-year transition period.
Since the 3rd December, new laws have prohibited traders selling goods or services (subject to certain exceptions) in the EU from unjustified discrimination on the grounds of nationality, place of residence or place of establishment in the
EU. The classic form of discrimination that the law aims to stamp out are websites that automatically re-route a user to the website that’s aimed at the country where that user is resident. As this law has now been implemented it’s
important to review the operation of websites and terms and conditions to ensure there is no unjustified discrimination.
See Practice Note: The EU Geo-blocking Regulation
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