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Rachel Farr

Rachel Farr is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie, London office.

In July 2022, the law changed to allow employment businesses to supply workers to cover the duties of those taking part in official industrial action. Previously, it had been a criminal offence to do so. Following a successful judicial review challenge brought by unions, that law has been quashed. It is once again a criminal offence to supply agency workers to cover the duties of workers on an official strike, or to supply agency workers to cover the duties of other workers reassigned to cover striking workers.

After a long period in which the UK government has promised several employment law changes contained in an Employment Bill without bringing forward such a Bill, it has now announced it is supporting certain private members’ bills which include developments in these areas. These include expanding the right to request flexible working, a new right to request more predictable working conditions, a number of changes to family leave entitlements, and protection for those facing harassment by third parties such as customers at work.

Equal pay for men and women has been enshrined in UK law since 1970. Since then, and particularly since the turn of the century, equal pay claims have tended to take the form of mass claims in the public and retail sectors. In recent years, however, there has been renewed focus on individual equal pay claims. We expect that the Financial Conduct Authority will step up its scrutiny of equal pay and remuneration policies.

Whether employers are making redundancy, promotion or more general day-to-day decisions, they should not disregard the risk of age discrimination simply because the employees concerned are of fairly similar ages. In an article published by Employment Law Journal, John Bracken analyzes three cases which highlight some of the perils employers face when making management decisions about older members of their workforce.

Modern slavery is an umbrella term for practices which share a common element of force or coercion. The International Labor Organization estimated that, globally, 40.3 million people were working in conditions which could be described as modern slavery in 2016. As a result of the increasingly international reach of modern slavery legislation, many companies with global footprints are modifying their organization to ensure compliance across their business, for example by preparing modern slavery statements which tick off compliance requirements in several jurisdictions. Legislative change is expected in the UK, Canada, and under the EU’s proposed Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence directive.