• Date: 29 March 2017
  • Posted By: admin

So, today is the auspicious occasion of the triggering of Article 50 by which our exit form the EU will be negotiated. At the heart of these will be trade deals, and we know that the US is keen to agree terms with us – for those of you with businesses expanding into the US, here’s an article that sets out the difference in employment law between our 2 countries:

The other stories that have caught our attention over the last month are: From Topshop to The White Company; Where to buy your homewares; Retailers diversify to improve their margins; Early gender pay gap info from Virgin Money; and More on worker status in the gig economy.

From Topshop to The White Company: Sir Philip Green has lost another of his top executives. Mary Homer, who started at Arcadia for 30 years as a merchandiser and has climbed to the top of its career ladder – an inspirational story – is leaving to join The White Company. But whilst Ms Homer was ‘home grown’ Sir Philip has already stated that her replacement won’t be from within the company as he’s looking for a ‘someone who has been part of the online revolution’. If that’s you, look out for the advert! This article gives a good background on Ms Homer, but also talks about the founder of The White Company, Chrissie Rucker, who started the company with £6,000 inheritance from her grandmother – that’s an inspirational story too.

Where to buy your homewares: You might not immediately think going to the supermarket when you need to buy something for the home. But actually we do. Supermarkets are now places where we pick up all sorts of things for the home whilst buying our groceries. This article reports on which supermarkets are doing the best in the homewares war. At the top is George Home, with others such as Tesco following closely behind. But whilst we’ve been buying the basics such as mugs and glasses for quite some time, supermarkets are expanding their homewares ranges into interiors. And of course, with Sainsbury’s buying Argos and Habitat, it’s going to be very well placed to make the most of more interior based products for us to choose from when we’re getting our weekly shop. This article also tells you which supermarket is best for a range of homewares so will help you make the best choices.

Retailers diversify to improve margins: If you’re a regular reader of our weekly news blog, you’ll know that High Street retails are having a tough time – sales are either up or down, but either way operating costs are spiralling, putting pressure on the bottom line. This article reports about the move retailers are starting to make to ‘secondary revenues’ such as affiliate marketing, selling advertising space, cross-selling additional products and services, offering credit, and loyalty and reward programmes. 67% of retailers are pursuing these types of revenue streams, particularly the larger ones. It’s been done before – at airports – so our High Streets retailers are sensible to be looking to do the same.

Early gender pay gap info from Virgin Money: The legal requirement to publish gender pay gap for companies with 250 staff or more doesn’t take effect until 1 April 2018 – although they have to start collecting that information from April this year in order to be able to report on it next year. But some companies are doing it early – Virgin Money being one such company. In its annual report, it has issued its mean gender pay gap as standing at 36% in April 2016, with the biggest gap at senior management level, as there’s roughly a ratio of 4 men to 1 woman – so this does skews  the stats somewhat. Whilst the company doesn’t think it has an equality problem, it is nevertheless aiming to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by 2020, and has a number of initiatives in place to achieve that. We applaud Virgin Money for its transparency, and for the constructive changes its making to balance its workforce – and shall watch with interest its progress toward that 2020 target. We’ve also added a further article about some research just out that shows 65% of people believe that publishing gender pay gap publication will help equalise pay between men and women.

65% believe pay transparency can help close the gender pay gap

More on worker status in the gig economy: As we know, Uber lost an Employment Tribunal claim from its drivers for workers rights – Uber classed them as self employed so didn’t have to give holiday pay, sick pay, or the minimum wage. Other cases have followed, and this has exposed that in the gig economy people who should be classed as workers aren’t. The latest claim to be won is against  Excel – a bicycle courier in London. This has followed another successful claim against Pimlico Plumbers – also a London firm. And Deliveroo now has a claim against it, being bought by 200 riders, who are being represented by Leigh Day, a firm of solicitors that is supporting a number of claims through Employment Tribunals at the moment. What do you think? These articles help to explain the cases.

Deliveroo to face legal action over holiday pay and minimum wage

Well, that’s it for this week, and for March. Don’t forget it’s April Fools Day on Saturday – so beware! See you back here next Wednesday, 5th April.