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Looking ahead: October 2016

Get up to speed with our monthly employment law update. We have used a traffic light system to sort developments in order of importance: Important updates, Developments to watch and For your information.

Important updates

National Minimum Wage: Increases to the National Minimum Wage became effective from 1 October. The new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour which applies to workers aged 25 and over is unaffected. Our checklist contains the new rates and other key payments and limits for 2016/2017.

Modern slavery: Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 introduced last October, it became a legal requirement for organisations with a global turnover of £36million or above to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year. The end of September was the deadline for publication of a statement. View our guide

Gender pay gap: The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 are expected to be laid before Parliament shortly. Employers in the private and voluntary sector with 250 or more employees will be required to publish gender pay gap details highlighting the differences in gross pay and bonus payments between male and female employees. View our guide

Holiday pay: The Court of Appeal has confirmed in the long running case of Lock v British Gas that holiday pay must include commission. View our blog

Developments to watch

Apprenticeship levy: From April 2017 the current apprenticeship system will be replaced by funding on an ‘electronic voucher’ system, where the full cost of external training for apprentices will be met from funds held on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis in an employer’s electronic apprenticeship account: View our guide

Taxation of termination payments: In the 2016 budget the government announced changes to the taxation of termination payments. In essence, payments in lieu of notice will be taxable and subject to NIC in all circumstances and employer’s NIC will be charged on deals above £30,000. The government published a consultation on draft legislation which closed on 5 October. Changes are proposed to be effective from 6 April 2018. The consultation can be viewed here

Trade Union Act: The Act received Royal Assent in May 2016 but we currently have no date for implementation Key reforms relate to strike ballot requirements. View our blog

Public sector exit payments: The Repayment of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2016 require a high earning public sector worker to repay an exit payment if they are re-employed in the public sector within a 12 month period. The threshold for a ‘high earner’ is set at £80,000. Additional changes include the capping of exit payments at £95,000. The government has indicated that the new rules will come into force ‘shortly’ but we have no definite date.

For your information

Caste discrimination: The government has announced that it will undertake a 12 week consultation on the issue of caste and the Equality Act 2010. A key aim of the consultation will be to obtain the views of the public on whether additional measures are needed to ensure victims of caste discrimination have appropriate legal protection and effective remedies under the 2010 Equality Act. We will update you as soon as a consultation date is announced.

Corporate governance reform inquiry: The Business, Innovation, and Skills Committee has launched an inquiry on corporate governance, focusing on executive pay, directors duties, and the composition of boardrooms, including worker representation and gender balance in executive positions. This follows an earlier announcement by Theresa May that changes to the way big businesses are governed would be a key driver in her role as Prime Minister.

Rights of workers inquiry: The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched an inquiry into the future world of work, focusing on the rapidly changing nature of work, the status and rights of agency workers and the self-employed, and those working in the ‘gig economy’.

Equality inquiry: The Women and Equalities Committee has launched an inquiry to examine  the implications of leaving the EU on equalities legislation and policy in the UK. Deadline for submissions is 9 November.

Tribunal fees: In July 2013 tribunal fees were introduced with the aim of parties settling disputes more speedily and relieving the burden on the tax payer. Unison challenged the introduction of tribunal fees on the basis that the fees made it difficult for employees to exercise their employment rights. Although to date the challenge has been unsuccessful Unison has now been given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The case is due to be heard in March 2017.

Shared parental leave and pay: The government is expected to consult in relation to the extension of shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents. This change is not expected until 2018.

Bereavement leave: A private member’s bill entitling all employees to two weeks’ paid leave if they lose a child under 18, has been introduced in parliament. A second reading of the bill is due on 28 October. View here

Tribunal decisions: Employment Tribunal decisions are shortly expected to be available online. Only new employment tribunal judgments will be available. A decision will be taken at a later date in relation to judgments made prior to this change.

Religious dress: The cases of Achbita and Bougnaoui address the controversial issue of religious dress in the workplace. We are awaiting the decision of the ECJ on whether prohibiting Muslim women from wearing a headscarf is religious discrimination.

For further information on any of the topics addressed in this blog please Get In Touch

 

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Legal news, views, trends and tools for HR Professionals. Stay ahead. Go further