To ensure that you and your organisation are compliant with all relevant employment law, do not hesitate to contact us. If you are unsure you know the full facts regarding employment legislation, contact us now. We offer practical & sustainable advice & support to ensure you comply fully with all relevant legislation.
From 31st Mar 2018 the UK Govt will no-longer provide the free ‘Fit for work’ assessment centres in England & Wales (takes effect from 31st May 2018 in Scotland). As an employer, employee or GP you are still able to access the ‘Fit for work’ helpline, website & web chat service.
If you would like to have your say on enforcing the gender pay gap regulations the consultation is still open; until 2nd Feb 2018.
Agreement was reached on 8th Dec between the UK Govt & the European Commission with regards to the rights of EU citizens post Brexit. EU citizens currently living in another EU country will maintain the rights to live, work & study there. Furthermore, the ECJ (European Court of Justice) will maintain a role in overseeing their rights until Mar 2027; eight years after Brexit.
On Friday 30th Sept 2017 the Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force. This new law has the facility to hold UK companies criminally accountable (unless they are able to prove that reasonable preventative steps have been taken) if they have not prevented tax avoidance anywhere in the world which has been committed by an ‘associated person’ i.e. an employee, a worker or contractor. Further information can be found at: 2017 No.876 Criminal Law
All businesses that have a turnover in excess £36million, if your financial yr runs from Apr to Mar, then preparations should be well underway for the publication of your second annual modern slavery statement. Whilst the UK Govt has not stipulated a date they do state that “as soon as reasonably practical after the end of each financial year” & offer a six month time frame in their guidance notes. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-in-supply-chains-a-practical-guide
Working parents with children aged 3-4 years; from 1st Sept 2017, the Govt is increasing the free childcare scheme to 30 hrs per wk. The extended free hrs apply to families where both parents work, or for single parent families where the parent works. Either way, the parties must earn the equivalent of 16 hrs at the National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage rate or earn less than £100k per annum. For further information, go to https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds
The Low Pay Commission (LPC) are currently consulting with employers about the effects of the minimum wage rates. They are requesting that evidence is presented to them by 7th July 2017; further information can be obtained from: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/610184/Low_Pay_Commission_consultation_letter_2017.pdf
The responses will be collated, their findings & recommendations presented to Govt for their acceptance or rejection.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) needs to be a high priority for all employers throughout the year. Audit checks on how personal data is collected & processed need to meet with the GDPR conditions for employee consent. This may see Employers having to create/amend policies & processes to ensure they are fully compliant with the new governance and record-keeping requirements due to come into force in May 2018.
6th Apr, if an employer’s payroll per annum is in excess of £3m, they are required to pay a 0.5% Apprenticeship levy on their total payroll bill.
On the 6th Apr changes to the salary-sacrifice scheme come into effect. Schemes that started before Apr 2017 will be protected until Apr 2018, except those relating to cars, accommodation & school fees, which will be protected until Apr 2021. The following schemes are currently not affected by the changes: pension savings (including pension advice), childcare, ultra-low emission cars and cycle-to-work.
NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE – on the 1st Apr there will be an increase to both the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. The following table will ensure that you are paying your employees accurately.
Worker aged 25+, from £7.20 to £7.50 p/hr
Workers aged 21-24, from £6.95 to £7.05 p/hr
Workers aged 18-20, from £5.55 to £5.60 p/hr
Workers aged 16-17, from £4.00 to £4.05 p/hr
Apprentice in 1st yr of apprenticeship (under 19), from £3.40 to £3.50 p/hr
From 6th Apr 2017 organisations with 250+ staff will need to start reporting their gender pay gap. For more information regarding this, follow the link below to the ACAS Gender pay reporting guidance document. http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5768&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NTL%20March%202017&utm_content=NTL%20March%202017+Version+A+CID_d68f40e8e848bc973f06384bd6ce4423&utm_source=Acas%20National%20Email%20Marketing%20Live&utm_term=Gender%20pay%20reporting%20guidance
Subject to parliamentary approval, Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting – Public Sector, will come into force on 6th Apr 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/closing-the-public-sector-pay-gap.
As of 1st Dec section 38 of the Immigration Act 2016 was implemented. This allows chief immigration officers to issue any employer with a closure notice for a maximum of 48 hrs where they have reason to suspect that illegal foreign workers are being employed & the employer has already committed certain specific offences of illegal working. An application can then be made to the courts for an illegal working compliance order which can prohibit or restrict access to the employers premises for a period of 12 months, which in certain circumstances can be extended for a further 12 months.
21st Nov saw subsections 77 through 84 of the Immigration Act 2016 came into force. The legislation will ensure that staff with customer-facing roles in the public sector speak fluent English, and/or Welsh for public authorities in Wales; inc. but not limited to; central Government depts., non-departmental public bodies, councils & other local govt bodies, NHS bodies, state-funded schools, the police & the armed forces and public corporations. At this time, providers of public services employed in the voluntary-sector & private-sector do not have to comply with the language requirements. 24th Nov saw the start of a phased salary increase for tier 2 sponsored migrant workers on the points-based immigration system. From 24th Nov the increase will be to £25,000 with a second rise in Apr 2017 to £30,000. This change will not currently affect certain medical specialities & certain teaching specialities until July 2019. The minimum threshold for new entrants remains unchanged at £20,800.
1st Oct saw a change in the minimum hourly rates for workers 24 years & under, inc. apprentices under 19. The following quick glance table will ensure that you are paying accurately. The National Minimum Wage rate for those aged 25 and over remains the same at £7.20 p/hr.
Worker aged 25+, from £7.20 to £7.20
Workers aged 21-24, £6.95 p/hr as of 01/10/16
Workers aged 18-20, £5.55 p/hr as of 01/10/16
Workers aged 16-17, £4.00 p/hr as of 01/10/16
Apprentice in 1st yr of apprenticeship, £3.40 p/hr as of 01/10/16
7thSept, new whistleblowing rules come into force within the financial sector. This applies to banks and building societies as well as some insurance & investment companies.
Tax rulings for payments in lieu of notice (PILON) are due to change in April 2018. Consultation details & draft legislation were recently published. The £30,000.00 exemption from tax payment in cases such as redundancy will remain in place, payments above this threshold will be subject to both income tax & employers NIC’s.
The Immigration Act 2016 came into force on 12th July & had introduced a range of measures to crack down on any businesses that employ migrants illegally. The Act makes a number of changes to the criminal offence of employing illegal workers. The Act introduces tougher sanctions on employers, increasing the maximum custodial sentence on conviction from 2, to 5 years. The act also introduces a completely new power to close premises for up to 48 hours where a business employs illegal migrants. The Act will also make it easier to prosecute employers who deliberately turn a blind eye to employing illegal workers. The existing criminal offence of ‘knowingly employing an illegal migrant’ will be extended to apply when an employer knows or has ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that a person is an illegal worker. The Immigration Act also makes illegal working a criminal offence in its own right, with a maximum custodial sentence of 6 months and/or a fine. Wages paid to the illegal worker can be seized as the proceeds of crime. A Govt factsheet is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-bill-2015-16
The Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 came into force on 26th May. This legislation targets substances that are commonly referred to as ‘legal highs’ & generally have 3 main effects – as stimulants, sedatives or hallucinogens. Whilst screening for their use is difficult, it is recommended that employers look at the mind-altering affects they cause rather than the drugs themselves, such as employee’s behaviour or ability to work. Check that your policies include ‘substances’ & update accordingly to ensure your Disciplinary procedures cover this relatively new phenomenon.
Employers with 250 or more employees in private & voluntary sectors must publish an annual report with details of their gender pay & bonus gap, with the first report to be published by 30th Apr 2018. It is not unreasonable to assume that suppliers to such companies, regardless of their size, may be asked to provide similar reports. The gender pay gap information must include the mean difference in bonus payments between men & women. The information on bonus payments must be based only on data for those employees who receive bonus pay during the 12 months to 30th Apr in each year. The first gender bonus pay report must be calculated using pay information for the 12 months from 1st May 2016.
From 1st Apr, the new ‘National Living Wage’ of £7.20 per hour was introduced for workers aged 25 & over. It becomes the new compulsory top rate for the National Minimum Wage. The National Minimum Wage rates for other workers remain unchanged until 1st Oct 2016, when it has been announced the rates will be:
Worker aged 25+, from £7.20 to £7.20
Worker aged 21-24, from £6.70 to £6.95
Development rate for worker aged 18-20, from £5.30 to £5.95
Worker aged 16-17, from £3.87 to £4.00
Apprentice in 1st yr of apprenticeship, from £3.30 to £3.40
The Govt. also announced that in future the National Living Wage & National Minimum Wage rates will be increased together, starting Apr 2017. From 1st Apr 2016, the penalty for employers found not to have paid the National Minimum Wage doubled, to 200% of the total underpayment (for pay reference periods that began before 1st Apr 2016, the penalty is 100%). There is a min payment of £100 & a max payment of £20,000; NOTE: that the max payment applies for each worker who has been underpaid. Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental & Adoption Pay remained frozen at £139.58 per wk. Statutory Sick Pay also remained frozen, at £88.45 per wk. From 6th Apr, employers no longer needed to pay employer NI contributions for apprentices aged under 25. From 6th Apr, employer-sponsored skilled foreign workers coming to the UK under tier 2 of the immigration points system are required to earn a minimum salary of £35k. From 6th Apr, Tribunal Enforcement Officers can impose a financial penalty on employers that fail to pay a Tribunal award or ACAS settlement sum. The penalty will be 50% of the unpaid award, subject to min & max amounts & a reduction for prompt payment.
As of 31st Mar, larger companies with a total turnover of at least £36m per annum & whose financial year ended on or after 31st Mar 2016, have to comply with the duty to publish a ‘slavery and human trafficking’ statement for that financial year. It seems inevitable that the obligation to publish anti-slavery and trafficking statements will filter down to smaller companies who provide goods or services to these larger companies.
The ‘Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015’ went live 11th Jan 2016. These provide protection for workers on Zero Hours Contracts, giving them protection from detriment & dismissal (irrespective of their age or length of service) for breaching an exclusivity clause in their Contract of Employment (by doing work or performing services under another Contract or other arrangement). From this date, they therefore became able to bring a complaint to an Employment Tribunal for compensation if they are subjected to a detriment or are dismissed.
National Minimum Wage increases from £6.50 to £6.70 for workers aged 21 & over; from £5.13 to £5.30 for workers aged 18 to 20; from £3.79 to £3.87 for workers aged 16 to 17; & from £2.73 to £3.30 for Apprentices.
Enterprise Bill protects the term ‘apprentice’ by (amongst other things) making it a criminal offence to offer an apprenticeship course or training if it is not a statutory apprenticeship.
Online driving licence checking code now valid for 21 days instead of 72 hrs.
The Government announced that a new compulsory Living Wage of £7.20 per hour will be introduced next April for all working people aged 25 & over. New regulation came into effect to prevent claims of arrears of holiday pay going back more than 2 years.
All young people in England will be required to continue in education or training until the age of 18.
May 2015 Exclusivity clauses in Zero Hours Contracts were banned from 26th May. Employers who underpay the National Minimum Wage will face a maximum penalty of £20,000, on a per worker basis rather than per notice.
Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental & Adoption Pay all increased from £138.18 to £139.58 on 6th Apr. Statutory sick pay increased from £87.55 to £88.45 on 6th Apr. Employment Tribunal awards limits rose as the maximum compensatory award increased from £76,574 to £78,335 and, the limit on a ‘week’s pay‘ increased from £464 to £475 from 6th Apr. The right to Unpaid Ordinary Parental Leave was extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 from 5th Apr.
New drug-driving law introduced in England & Wales aims to catch those who drive under the influence of drugs.
Employment agencies & businesses in GB are banned from advertising jobs exclusively in other European Economic Area countries without advertising them in GB. Government announced that it will implement improvements (in stages, from 6th Apr) to the CIS for taxation. ECJ ruled obesity as a disability under certain circumstances.