It’s vitally important that employers keep up to date with developments in the fast-changing area of employment law to safeguard their business.
Our Employment Law specialist at Burt Brill & Cardens, has taken the time to summarise some of the key changes to employment law in 2016. A business needs to take steps to ensure that they comply with the Regulations and the changes that are being made by updating their staff contracts and policies.
Protection introduced for zero-hours workers
Employers are no longer permitted to enforce exclusivity clauses within their zero hours workers contracts which prevent them from working for other employers whilst they are working for them.
The protection which is already in force includes protection from dismissal and being subjected to detriment, in particular:-
- Any dismissal of the employee is automatically unfair, if the principal reason is that they breached a contractual clause prohibiting them from working for another employer.
- There is no qualifying period of employment required in order to bring a claim.
- It is unlawful to subject the worker to a disadvantage or treat them less favourably if they work for another employer in breach of a clause prohibiting them from doing so.
National Minimum Wage
The government has named and shamed 398 employers who have failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage.
HM Revenue and Customs has published a factsheet providing guidance to employers to make sure they are paying their workers the National Minimum Wage.
National Living Wage
A National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for employees age 25 and over, is to be introduced in April. This sum is set to increase to £9 per hour by 2020.
Introduction of penalties for employers who fail to pay Tribunal or Settlement Awards from April 2016
The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 has been amended to allow financial penalties to be imposed on employers who fail to pay an Employment Tribunal or Settlement Award. This penalty is to be paid in addition to any award that had been made by the Employment Tribunal.
Consultation on proposed changes to taxation of termination payments
Currently the first £30,000 of compensation payments made to employees when their employment is terminated can be paid free from tax deductions. The £30,000 exemption has been in place for many years. However, the Government has been consulting about the future of taxation on such payments. Their response is expected shortly and further details will be published as soon as the decision is made.
Restrictions on public sector payments
A restriction has been applied on the termination payment that can be paid to public sector employees. Payments are capped at £95,000. In addition if the employee returns to work within the public sector within 12 months of the payment being made, then the payment will be subject to a clawback.
Gender Pay Gap Regulations
Regulations are due to come into force requiring private sector employers that have 250 or more employees to publish gender pay gap information. Details of the Regulations have not yet been published.
Consultation on grandparental leave
A consultation is set to be carried out this year during which the proposals to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents will be considered. Currently the shared leave and pay is only available to parents whose child was born, or baby was matched/placed with them after 5 April 2015. The Government proposes to implement the changes to allow working grandparents to be entitled to take leave and to be paid whilst on leave. The changes are expected to be implemented in 2018.
Burt Brill & Cardens
If you are an employer that requires advice in complying with the Regulations and/or assistance in updating your staff contract or polices within your workplace and would like to speak to a solicitor, then call us today on 01273 604123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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