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Further Education ByteSize

Here’s what’s inside this edition of ByteSize Employment:

Please click on the links above to view the articles, or download a PDF copy here.


Uber news

In the first of a line of cases dealing with employment status in the gig economy, the Employment Tribunal accepted that Uber drivers are to be recognised as “workers” rather than self-employed. Therefore, they are entitled to some employment rights including national minimum wage and paid annual leave.

Uber argued that the drivers were running their own businesses, keeping their own accounts and declarring their own taxes and were therefore classed as self-employed. However, the Tribunal contended that Uber were responsible for recruiting drivers as well as having an earning guarantee scheme, a complaints procedure and conditions regarding routing and rebates as well as controlled their ability to accept or decline fares.

The case was Aslam and others v Uber BV and others.


New tax changes

The Autumn Statement was delivered on 23rd November 2016. It included a number of updates to employment matters including tax changes to ’employee shareholder’ status and restrictions on benefits available from salary sacrifice arrangements.

‘Employee shareholder’ status waives a number of employment protections including the right to redundancy payment and protection from unfair dismissal in return for a minimum of £2,000 shares in the business. Currently, the shares qualify for income tax and capital gains tax reliefs but for agreements entered into after 16 March 2016, the relief was restricted to a lifetime allowance of £100,000. The new plans are to completely abolish the relief for shares acquired in line with the ‘Employee shareholder’ agreement on or after 1 December 2016. However, the tax advantages will continue to apply to any arrangements created before 1 December 2016.

From April 2017 the only benefits which will continue to benefit from tax and NI relief if provided through salary sacrifice will be enhanced employer pension contributions to registered registered pension schemes, childcare benefits, cycles and cyclists’ safety equipment provided under the cycle to work scheme and ultra-low emission cars. The current arrangements that are already in place will be protected until April 2018 and for car, accomodation and school fees, until April 2021.

It has also been confirmed that tax fee termination payments of up to £30,000 will be retained but new measures from April 2018 mean that NI contributions will be payable on payments above £30,000.


Privacy in the workplace

In a recent case it was decided that there is no minimum level of compensation for workplace privacy claims following misuse and disclosure of an individual’s personal data.

The Metropolitan Police made enquiries of another police force as part of a disciplinary investigation to find evidence that the employee had taken unauthorised holiday while off sick.

The former employee brought claims under the Data Protection Act 1998 as well as the Human Rights Act 1998 and was awarded a figure of £9,000 for the unlawful use and disclosure of personal data.

The minimum threshold in hacking cases is £10,000, which the judge distinguished from workplace privacy claims. It was held that the damages in this case should be substantial, but less than the minimum threshold in hacking cases on the basis that although the breach was serious, it did not involve the disclosure of highly personal material for gain, wide distribution, or with the intent to injure to embarrass.

The case was Brown v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis.


Think before emailing home!

An employee has been ordered to pay a fine of £23,000 as well as costs of over £14,000 for sending emails from her work email address to her personal account without authorisation from her employer. The emails were sent in the two months prior to her handing in her resignation and contained confidential information relating to her work which were of commercial value to her employer.

Every employee is obligated to respect the confidentiality of their employer’s commercial information. Employers should make it clear what information is confidential in order to protect itself as well as its personal data. Employers should also ensure that their confidential information is protected post-termination by imposing covenants in the employment contract.

If your business uses remote access or employees are permitted to work from home, it might be permissible to send information to a personal account. It is good practice to ensure that employees are required to obtain authorisation before doing so, by having the relevant clause in the employee’s contract.


New Privacy Code of Practice

The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has released its first piece of guidance on how to comply with both the existing Data Protection Act and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The code of Practice is intended to help organisations better explain how they’re using personal data. It contains examples of what should be included in a privacy notice, how and when information should be delivered to individuals as well as useful tips on how to write a notice.


This is not legal advice. Information made available on this website in any form is for informational purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website.

Posted on December 19, 2016

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