News & Events News News in Brief February 2019 Excessive working hours hurts UK productivity Evidence published by the Office for National Statistics has revealed that UK workers are putting in an average of 30 minutes a week more in the office than they did 10 years ago, with few signs that this extra work is productive. ONS suggested that employees were often coming in to work despite feeling unwell, with potentially negative consequences for themselves and their colleagues. ONS estimated that “presenteeism” cost the UK economy £15.1bn last year compared with a cost of only £8.4bn from “absenteeism.” Employment tribunals face backlog of cases Employment tribunals in the UK are facing a rapidly growing backlog of cases since the abolition of fees back in July 2017. The list of cases waiting to be decided has risen 77% in the year to September 2018. Of 36,900 individual claims over the 12 month period, 23,700 were left outstanding at the end of September, compared with only 13,360 outstanding cases a year earlier. Legal commentators have blamed a lack of staff resources to cope with increased demand since the tribunal fees were scrapped. National Gallery suffers first public sector gig economy ruling A group of 27 art experts who worked at London’s national Gallery educating the public have won a landmark tribunal case stating that they should have been treated as workers rather than self-employed. This is the latest in a string of similar decisions regarding workers in the gig economy, though it is believed to be the first such ruling affecting the public sector, and may set a precedent for more such cases involving other public bodies. The tribunal found that “it is unreal to describe the dealings between the parties as transactions in which the gallery stood as the ‘client or customer of any business undertaking’ carried on by any of the lead claimants”.