Employment law stories in the news – 27.03.2017 to 02.04.2017

In the latest of our series of posts on employment law stories in the news, we take a look at ten employment law stories that have made the news between 27 March 2017 and 2 April 2017

  1. Pret a Manger to pay work experience recruits after criticism of unpaid scheme – Pret a Manger has said it will now pay hundreds of teenagers it plans to hire this summer, after campaigners criticised the company for offering work experience roles for free food but no pay. The Guardian reported that the sandwich chain hoped to solve its looming recruitment crisis by offering 500 16- to 18-year-olds a week of unpaid work experience (The Guardian)
  2. Call for ‘decently paid’ maternity leave – Statutory maternity pay for UK mothers is among the worst in Europe, according to an analysis by the TUC. The trade union body says only Ireland and Slovakia have worse “decently paid” entitlements (BBC)
  3. £1,200 cost for unfair dismissal claims is challenged in UK’s highest court – Steep rises in fees for bringing unfair dismissal claims at employment tribunals – which have led to a 70% fall in the number of cases – are to be challenged at the UK’s highest court (The Guardian)
  4. Deliveroo drivers are gearing up for an employment tribunal over workers’ rights – Deliveroo riders are gearing up for a legal challenge against the startup over rights to holiday pay, minimum wage and other benefits. Some 20 drivers have started the process to begin an employment tribunal with the same law firm which won a landmark case for workers rights for Uber drivers last year, and 200 in total have expressed interest in joining the claim (City AM)
  5. Union announces new ‘gig economy’ employment action – The GMB trade union has opened a new legal action in the campaign against businesses treating workers as self-employed contractors. The union says it has begun legal action against logistics company UK Express, which carries out deliveries for web retail giant Amazon (The Law Society Gazette)
  6. Supreme Court considers employment tribunal fees challenge while Law Society accuses government of being “wilfully blind” to tens of thousands denied justice – The bitter legal battle over the introduction of employment tribunal fees is set to end soon as the verdict on a Supreme Court hearing is considered. The trade union, Unison has conducted a four-year legal challenge and appeals process against the government’s decision to introduce high fees which people must now pay as the only way to redress wrongdoing on the part of an employer at an employment tribunal (LawCareers.net)
  7. Foster carers bid for council employee rights – A couple who have been working as foster carers for six years are to take their case to be classed as council employees to a tribunal. James and Christine Johnstone claim to have suffered an unlawful deduction of wages after not having a child placed with them for a year (BBC)
  8. FTSE CEOs ‘earn 386 times more than workers on national living wage’ – The average FTSE chief executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps (The Guardian)
  9. Employment Tribunal to hear case of Christian nurse fired for talking about faith – The Employment Tribunal has heard the case of a Christian nurse dismissed by the NHS after she spoke to patients about her faith, and occasionally offered prayer. Sarah Kuteh, who has 15 years’ nursing experience, was sacked for gross misconduct in August 2016. She had worked at Darent Valley Hospital since 2007 (Christian Concern)
  10. ECJ considers holiday carry-over beyond sick leave – A worker’s annual leave can be carried over into the following holiday year if sickness absence prevents holiday from being taken. But what if a worker is prevented from taking leave for other reasons beyond their control? A European Court of Justice (ECJ) case heard on 29 March has the potential to extend when employers must allow workers to carry over holiday (Personnel Today)