The 12 months of 2018: October

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It's been an eventful year for HR-related issues hitting the headlines. Our 12 Days of Christmas countdown revisits each month's most notable happenings

Apprenticeship levy overhaul

Speaking at the Conservative party conference, chancellor Philip Hammond said that the government recognised concerns about the levy, and announced it would introduce reforms to give businesses greater flexibility and expand apprenticeships in science and other STEM subjects.

The new proposals will allow large employers to transfer up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy funds to businesses in their supply chain from April 2019. “We've set out a series of measures to allow firms more flexibility in how the levy is spent. But we know that we may need to do more to ensure that the levy supports the development of the skilled workforce our economy needs," said Hammond.

The number of apprentices fell significantly since the introduction of the levy, which requires businesses with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more to invest 0.5% of that in apprenticeship training.

Morrisons loses High Court challenge

Morrisons lost a challenge to a High Court ruling stating that it is liable for a data breach that saw thousands of its employees' details posted online by a disgruntled employee. The Court of Appeal upheld the original decision against the supermarket, issued in December 2017. Workers brought a claim against the company after employee Andrew Skelton stole the data, including salary and bank details, of nearly 100,000 staff.

Morrisons said it will appeal to the Supreme Court. If this fails those affected will be able to claim compensation from the supermarket for 'upset and distress'. The case is the first data leak class action in the UK. Legal experts expressed surprise over the ruling, and warned employers to be cautious about their use of data following the verdict.

The best bits of HR magazine in October...

HR Most Influential 2018 rankings: The top of the tree

HR magazine unveiled our list of the most influential practitioners and thinkers in the field, showcasing the skills and thought leadership needed to tackle this year's headline-hitting HR issues.

Clash of the cultures: High street vs. high end

Sports Direct’s purchase of flagging department store chain House of Fraser was only the latest in a series of high profile M&A activity in 2018. We analyse the ramifications for worker rights and HR.

Putting the 'T+' in LGBT+

Transgender and non-binary employees are often ignored in LGBT+ inclusion. So what is HR doing to tackle this in the workplace?

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