Temperatures are dropping and trees are beginning to shed their leaves – yes, Autumn is on its way! The season always brings with it a number of employment law changes and 2016 is no different. The headline change is the increase in the National Minimum Wage which we have covered in a separate news bulletin (see here for details). Here are some further changes to keep on the radar for the coming months.
English Language Requirement for Public Sector Workers
Although yet to be confirmed, it is anticipated that from October 2016, under the Immigration Act 2016, workers in the public sector who hold client facing roles will be required to speak English fluently (English and Welsh in Wales) as a condition of their employment. This new regulation will require careful incorporation into recruitment practices so as to ensure candidates are not unfairly discriminated against.
Employment of Illegal Workers
The Immigration Act 2016 will also grant powers to close businesses should they be found to employ foreign workers illegally. Temporary closure notices can be served preventing access to a business for 48 hours with the option for a further order prohibiting access for a period of 12 months. No implementation date has yet been confirmed however this change is expected in the near future. This is on top of existing legislation which allows prison sentences of up to 5 years and unlimited fines for directors if a business knowingly employs illegal workers.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Subject to the approval of Parliament, Gender Pay Gap reporting regulations are expected to come into force in December 2016. These regulations will make it mandatory, from April 2018, for employers with 250 or more employees to publish mean and median data on gender differences in salary and bonuses together with levels of staff in each pay quartile.
For more information on any of the items outlined above please contact a member of our Employment Law Team on 01245 893400 or visit our offices at 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team