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The 12 months of 2016: December

Our 12 Days of Christmas countdown looks at the most interesting HR happenings over the last year

Southern Rail dispute

Commuters in south London and the South have faced disruption on the Southern rail network due to a long-running strike over the proposed use of driver-only trains.

The RMT union's members, who conducted the first strikes in April, have been joined by members of drivers' union ASLEF. Talks between the rail company and the unions are planned, but so far no agreements have been reached.

Southern faced criticism earlier in the year for encouraging affected commuters to tweet RMT about how they feel. This instead generated a Twitter backlash from those who supported the strikes.

Looking forward to 2017

The next year promises some big developments for HR.

In April the apprenticeship levy will come into effect. The government hopes this will generate an extra three million apprenticeship schemes in the UK by 2020, but will only apply to companies with a pay bill in excess of £3 million.

Prime minister Theresa May has stated that the UK will begin the formal Brexit negotiation process by the end of March 2017 by triggering Article 50. Once Article 50 is triggered there is a two-year time limit to complete negotiations, meaning the earliest possible date for the UK to leave the EU will be in 2019.

The government is also focused on delivering corporate governance reforms, with a green paper under discussion in early 2017. It will centre on ensuring employees are heard in the boardroom, the challenges of executive pay, and whether the rules for listed companies should be extended to large private companies.

Our pick of December:

Are we sleepwalking into a sleep crisis?

Too many of us are sacrificing sleep without being aware of the nightmares it could cause in the long run.

Getting active: Lessons from the sports pitch

Some businesses lag behind in encouraging staff to get active, but simple steps can go a long way.

Latest gender pay reporting regulations: Questions remain

The final draft regulations provided some clarity but areas such as benefits and salary sacrifice remain unclear.

Tough gig: Making the gig economy work for everyone

Gig working is getting more popular, but has been heavily publicly criticised. So is it all it’s cracked up to be?