April is always an important month for employment law and 2016 is no exception. Here we outline the new regulations being introduced this year as well as other recent important changes:
- Zero Hours Contracts
In 2015 it became unlawful for employers to impose exclusivity clauses in the contracts of zero hours workers. Regulations were further broadened in January this year allowing such workers the right to pursue their employer at an employment tribunal if they have been dismissed or suffered loss as a direct result of working elsewhere.
- Gender Pay Gap
In February this year the Government published draft regulations for Gender Pay Gap reporting. The regulations will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish the remuneration data of their male and female employees as at 30 April 2017 and thereafter on an annual basis. It is advised that companies take steps now to redress any imbalance as publishing such data could affect have a detrimental effect on business.
- New National Living Wage
On April 1st the new National Living Wage became law. Workers aged 25 and over will now be paid £7.20 per hour, an increase of 50p per hour.
- Employment Tribunal Procedure
April 1st also saw new rules surrounding postponements in employment tribunals come into force. Only two requests for postponements can now be made by each party barring any exceptional circumstances. Applications for postponement should be made at least 7 days before the hearing, or at the hearing and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
- The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016
April 6th saw the introduction of the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016 setting out new compensatory award limits for employment tribunals and other amount payable under employment law. The key changes were:
- The maximum amount of a “week’s pay” for calculations such as redundancy increases from £475 to £479
- New minimum and maximum compensatory awards for matters such as unfair dismissal are set at £5,807 minimum (an increase of £46) and £78,962 maximum (an increase of £627 on the current limit)
6. Statutory parental pay rates and sick pay frozen
The Government has announced that the annual increase in SPP and SSP will not take place in 2016.
7. Public Sector Exit Payment – New Restrictions
From 1 April 2016, public-sector employees earning more than £100,000 a year will be required to repay exit payments (such as redundancy lump sums) if they return to work in the same area within a 12 month period.
There will also be a new rule to limit exit payments to £95,000 for public sector employees, to curb “excessive payments”. This will include payments such as pension contributions, payments in lieu of notice, redundancy payments and any payments under settlement agreements. The statutory instrument is still in draft form and isn’t expected to become law before October 2016.
For more information on any of the topics mentioned above, or if you need help understanding and implementing them in the workplace, please call us today and book a free, 30 minute consultation with one of our specialist employment law solicitors.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team