EMPLOYMENT LAW CHANGES – AUTUMN 2016
From April 2017, 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. The term “apprenticeship” will be protected and training providers will be unable to describe a course as an apprenticeship if it is not a statutory apprenticeship.
- English language requirements
Workers in the public sector will need to speak English and Welsh fluently (where appropriate) if their job requires them to speak to members of the public. A code of practice has been published for public authorities.
- National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage – NMW and NLW – new rates wef 01.10.16
Apprentice rate- £3.40ph
Under 18 but no longer of compulsory school age- £4.00ph
18 to under 21 £5.55ph
21 to under 25- £6.95ph
Over 25- £7.20ph
Future NMW and NLW changes will take place in April starting in 2017.
- Immigration skills charge comes into force – April 2017
The Government wants to reduce employers’ reliance on migrant workers by imposing a visa levy on organisations that sponsor workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
- Using foreign workers illegally and face closure
New powers are introduced to serve employers with a closure notice where illegal working is suspected, preventing access to the firm’s site for 12 months.
- Gender pay gap reporting
Employers with over 250 employees will be required 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.
- Exits from the public sector
If they earned £80k or more per annum, 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. A new cap of £95k will be set for the amount of public sector exit payments.
- Trade union law
Trade Union Act 2016 brings in new voting thresholds for industrial action. There is no confirmed date of implementation at the time of writing.
- Tax-free childcare – early 2017
In families where both parents work and each parent earns less than £100k pa and a minimum weekly income at least equivalent to 16 hours at the rate of the NMW, the Government will pay 20% of their yearly childcare costs capped at £2000 for each child.
- Sunday working rights protected – start date to be announced
Shop workers will be given greater protection under new rules. Shop workers will be able to object to working more than their normal hours on a Sunday and there will be a reduction in the notice that workers need to give if they want to opt out of working (in the larger shops) on Sunday.