New legislation affecting employment rights and responsibilities is introduced every April. This year, the development receiving the most attention is the introduction of the national living wage. But are you aware of other important employment law changes on their way?
National Living Wage is Introduced
A significant change is to be made for the lowest-paid workers with the introduction of the national living wage on 1 April 2016. Workers aged 25 and over will be entitled to the national living wage rate of £7.20 per hour from the first pay reference period beginning on or after 1 April 2016.
The national living wage is a new top rate of the national minimum wage.
Employers should check that employees’ pay is not brought below the new rate by salary-sacrifice arrangements – tax free payments schemes, taken off employee’s gross pay, such as childcare vouchers. Employers should also be aware of any pay implications if 1 April 2016 falls part way through a payroll period, you will need to know which date the employer must start paying the national living wage from.
National Minimum Wage Penalties Increase
The penalty for employers found not to have paid the national minimum wage doubles from 1 April 2016. The enforcement regime is the same for non-payment of the national living wage.
Employment Tribunal Awards and Statutory Redundancy Pay
New limits on employment tribunal awards and statutory redundancy pay come into force on 6 April 2016. The maximum amount of a week’s pay for these purposes increases to £479, and the maximum amount of a compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £78,962.
Employer NICs are Abolished For Apprentices Under Age 25
As part of the Government’s drive to encourage employers to create more apprenticeships for young people, employers will not pay employer national insurance contributions for apprentices aged under 25.
Financial Penalties For Non-Payment of Tribunal Awards
There will be new legislation allowing tribunal enforcement officers to impose a financial penalty on an employer that fails to pay a tribunal award or Acas settlement sum. It is expected to come into force in April 2016.
Research carried out in 2013 showed that less than half of tribunal claimants who had been awarded compensation received the full award from the employer.
The penalty will be 50% of the unpaid award, subject to minimum and maximum amounts and a reduction for prompt payment.
Statutory Family-Related Pay and Sick Pay Rates Are Frozen
This isn’t actually a change in legislation, however many employers may be expecting one around statutory rates of pay. Unlike in previous years, there will be no increase to statutory adoption, maternity, paternity or shared parental pay rates in April 2016.
Statutory sick pay will also remain at the same rate that has applied since April.
If you need any help applying new legislation the please call Metis HR on 01706 565332 now and we will be happy to help.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of Englandsupporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.