Writing in Lexology Sarah James, Associate at Womble Bond Dickinson, explained the two new Directives. The first on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions in the EU and the second on the Protection of Persons Reporting on Breaches of EU Law. Both of which may require legislation to bring UK law into line.
The first Directive sets out revised obligations for employers to inform workers of essential aspects of their employment relationship, and defines a set of minimum rights for workers.
“The aim is to address the challenges brought about by developments in the world of work,” said James. “In particular, it is intended to benefit workers without fixed or guaranteed hours, such as those working in the gig economy. However, it will not apply to those who work on average three hours a week or less in any four consecutive weeks, unless there is no guarantee of any paid work at all.”
The second Directive is part of a package of measures to strengthen whistleblower protection at EU level. Recent scandals involving whistleblowers have highlighted the important role they can play in uncovering unlawful activities, which is one of the reasons for the introduction of stronger protections, explained James.
“Whistleblower protection is currently fragmented and uneven across the EU and the Directive will introduce some uniformity,” said James. “The UK already gives whistleblowers comprehensive protection and much of the content of the Directive is already contained in domestic law. However, there are some differences between the Public Interest Disclosure Act (which relates to breaches of UK law) and the Directive (which relates to breaches of EU law).”
She added that under the Directive, organisations with more than 50 employees will have to establish internal reporting channels and respond to reported concerns within three months (six months in complex cases).