Employment Law is an area of constant change, and 2016 is no exception. A number of changes will be made within 2016, and here we summarise the main ones you need to be aware of.
These are the changes we are already aware of, but it is still possible that further changes could take effect within 2016:
- Gender Pay Reporting. Large employers (defined as those with 250 staff or more) will be obliged to publish information about any gaps in pay between genders. The information – which must be introduced by 26th March 2016 – must also include details of gaps in bonus payments. Currently there is no prescribed format for how this should be reported. It is therefore expected that companies will be allowed some leeway to establish a format for reporting.
- National Living Wage. The National Living Wage will be introduced from 1st April 2016. The rate of £7.20 per hour will also become the Minimum Wage for employees over 25 (and therefore compulsory). For employees under 25, the Living Wage however will only be advisory – employers will only need to pay them the Minimum Wage of £6.50 (which will be reviewed in October 2016). Instead, employers are being encouraged to pay the Living Wage to staff voluntarily, to achieve the ‘Living Wage Employer Mark’. This will mark them out as a fair employer. Also with regard to pay rates, the penalties for not paying Minimum Wage will be doubled from April.
- Workers to be able to seek redress where an employer ignores the ban on exclusivity clauses. Since 2015, exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts have been banned. However, some employers still tried to use them, so with effect from 11th January 2016, employees can ake such matters to an employment tribunal if they were dismissed or suffered a detriment as a result of such a clause in their contract.
- New rules to protect apprenticeships. Organisations can no longer use the word ‘apprenticeship’ in job adverts, unless the role is part of a statutory apprenticeship. Many employers have been developing their own quasi-apprenticeships which were not formally recognised by government.
- Freeze on statutory rates for parental and sick pay. Due to a fall in the Consumer Prices Index, there will be no changes to statutory parental pay or sick pay. Both are renewed annually and would normally change with effect from April.
- Updated laws on employing foreign workers (expected in October 2016) – The Immigration Bill makes certain changes to the law applying to foreign workers. Illegal working will now be specified as an offence, and all public-facing staff working in the public sector will be expected to speak English fluently. There will also be an immigration skills charge for employers using foreign workers.
We aim to keep you updated with any further changes throughout 2016. If you have any queries in the meantime or would like to know more about our Employment Law services for clients, contact us through the website or call us on 01904 593439