There are various employment law reforms that employees and employers especially will need to be mindful of in 2016 due to the conservative regime. See below for the top eight major changes you need to be aware of:
1. National living wage introduced
This will be implemented from 1st April 2016 at a rate of £7.20 per hour, working as a new top rate of national minimum wage. Employers have to pay all of their staff over the age of 25 this rate. Staff under the age of 25 will be paid the lower national minimum wage rate.
Harsher penalties have also been introduced if employers fail to pay their staff the national minimum rate.
The national living wage is different to the living wage.
2.Gender pay reporting introduced
On the 26th March 2016 regulations that make it compulsory for employers who employ over 250 staff to report on their differences in pay based on gender will be introduced. It is thought that the regulations will give employers time to implement the new law before reporting requirements are set in stone. Details of where the report should be published and what specific information are required have not yet been stipulated. The requirement will also include the need to include details of the gap in bonus payments.
3.Changes to public-sector exit payments
Exit payments for public-sector employees have been capped at £95,000 in an attempt to crack down on excessive payments. As yet there is no date of implementation for this change.
The biggest change to exit-payments occurs from 1st April 2016 whereby public-sector employees who have annual earnings of £100,000 or more will be required to pay the exit payment back if they return to work within twelve months and in the same part of the sector.
4.No change to statutory sick and parental pay
The Government has stipulated that the annual increase is not happening this year and so statutory paternity, maternity, adoption, shared parental and sick pay will remain the same.
5.Changes to trade union law
Greater requirements are going to be placed on trade unions according to the Trade Union Bill which reforms the current law applying to industrial action. The reforms affect the voting threshold increasing it to 50% from 40%, the time-limit for industrial action after ballot and increasing the amount of notice needed to be given.
6.Greater protection for apprenticeships
Employers are only allowed to advertise or call a work scheme as an apprenticeship if it is a statutory apprenticeship.
7.Change to laws on employing foreign workers
You will remember that we reported on English language requirements that were going to be introduced for foreign workers in public facing roles. The Immigration Bill confirms that these changes are going to be introduced. An immigration skills charge is also going to be introduced for employers that employ foreign workers.
8.New redress provisions for employees against employers who ignore the ban on exclusivity clauses
You will remember that we reported on the fact that exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts were prohibited in 2015. In order to aid the effective enforcement of the ban, from 11th January 2016 employees will have the ability to complain to an employment tribunal where they have been dismissed or the victim of detriment as a result of breach of an exclusivity clause in their contract.
Bhayani HR & Employment Law are specialist employment solicitors and HR advisors. For more information on any of the changes discussed contact us on 0114 303 2300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.