Employment Law Changes October 2016: Things to look out for

October marks one of the two dates of annual importance for Employment law. Here are some of the updates on changes likely to be introduced this October:

 

National minimum wage increases effective as of 1st October

  • £6.95 for 21-25 year olds;
  • £5.55 for 18-21 year olds;
  • £4.00 for under 18s who are no longer of compulsory school age;
  • £3.40 for apprentices;

It is intended that future increases in the national minimum wage will occur in April each year.

 

New rules on Public-sector exit payments implemented

If a Public-sector worker earned £80,000 per year or more, employees who return to work in the public sector within one year of leaving will need to repay any exit payment made by their previous public-sector employer, the amount of which to be determined based on length of time since leaving.

There will be a cap of £95,000 for public-sector exit payments.

 

Changes for Foreign Workers:

An English-language requirement will be introduced for public-facing workers in the public sector. Workers in the public sector who are required to speak to members of the public will need to speak English fluently.

Employers using foreign workers illegally face closure – new powers are introduced to serve Employers with a closure notice where illegal working is suspected. A further order can be made to prohibit or restrict access to the Employer’s premises for 12 months.

The Government is also looking to introduce an immigration skills charge with the aim of reducing the Employer’s reliance on migrant workers. This is, however, not due to come into force until April 2017.

 

Ban on Corporate Directors

A new section 156A is to be inserted in the Companies Act 2006 banning corporate directors.

There will be a 12 month grace period, after which any corporate directors will cease to be directors by operation of law.

 

Trade Union law reformed

Employees providing essential public services can only take lawful industrial action if the vote has the backing of at least 40% of eligible Trade Union members.

A further requirement is to be introduced for clearer descriptions of the trade union dispute and the planned industrial action on the ballot paper.

The requirement for notice of industrial action is doubled to 14 days unless the employer agrees to 7.

 

Rights of Sunday shop workers enhanced

Sunday workers will be given greater protection, including a right to object to working more than their normal hours on a Sunday.

 

Delay of The Equality Act (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016

These are now not likely to be implemented until April 2018.

The Regulations require Employers with 250 or more employees to publish details of their gender pay gap and gender bonus gap on a yearly basis.

The first reports will need to be published by April 2018 but will be based on figures from April 2017 onwards.

 

Proposed changes for 2017:

Below is also an overview of some of the proposed changes – due to be brought into law in either April or October 2017.

  1. Tax-free childcare scheme comes into force:
    • In families where both parents earn less than £100,000 per year, and a minimum weekly income at least equivalent to 16 hours at the rate of the national minimum wage, the Government will pay 20% of their yearly childcare costs;
    • Capped at £2,000 for each child;
    • Due to be introduced in early 2017
  1. Changes to apprenticeships introduced:
    • All large employers will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy, set at 0.5% of the employer’s paybill.
    • The money gathered will be distributed to fund the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment.
    • Employers are now banned from using the term “apprentices” in job advertisements where the role is not part of a statutory apprenticeship;
    • Public sector bodies in England with more than 250 employees will be subject to an apprenticeship target

If you have any queries regarding the above or would like some advice as to how the changes might affect your position at work, or equally if you are an employer and want advice on how to implement these changes please contact our Head of Employment Ian Abel on ianabel@michaellewin.co.uk or Charlotte Harman on charlotteharman@michaellewin.co.uk.

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