New EU rules to protect ‘gig’ workers

New rules passed by the European Parliament will guarantee additional minimum rights at work for those in the on-demand economy, including gig workers such as Uber or Deliveroo drivers as well as those on zero hours contracts. The rights include an entitlement to compensation when work is cancelled, as well as having more predictable hours and an end to “abusive practice”. Whether the UK is obliged to implement the rules will depend on whether we are still tied to following EU employment regulations when the implementation period comes to an end in 2022.

Debenhams latest in high street closures

2019 looks to be another painful year for high street retailers following the collapse of Debenhams, the UK’s largest department store chain. 50 of the chain’s 116 stores are set to close, with 22 named this month in the first phase which will affect 1,200 jobs. Lenders took control of Debenhams earlier in April after buying it out of administration and defeating a rival bid by Mike Ashley. House of Fraser has similarly been shutting stores since it was bought out of administration in 2018, while Marks and Spencer is meanwhile closing 100 stores by 2020. The collapse of BHS in 2016 led to the loss of over 160 stores.

ICE regulations changed

The government passed in April the statutory instrument to implement proposed changes to the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004, lowering the threshold of workers required to trigger the establishment of fall-back ICE forums from 10%, to just 2%, with a minimum of 15 emloyees. The changes will take effect in April 2020, giving employers who want to avoid the fall-back provisions just 12 months in which to establish their own satisfactory employee voice mechanisms.