The key cases and employment law legislation that could affect your business over the next 12 months.
2016 is here, and it brings with it important legislative changes, a key Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) verdict, and a possible referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.
Pensions Auto Enrolment
Do you know your staging date yet? Do you even have any eligible workers? Most employers will pass their staging date for Automatic Enrolment by the end of the year. If you don’t know what your new pensions duties are we strongly recommend either taking a look at the Nest website or giving us a call for more information.
Ban on Exclusivity Clauses in Zero Hours Contracts
Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts become unenforceable from Monday 11th January 2016 under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. This means that an estimated 150,000 workers will be entitled to work for more than one employer at a time.
The EAT is expected to reach a verdict on the ongoing Holiday Pay case soon. British Gas Trading v Lock and Another concerns how the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on holiday pay applies to UK law. This specifically concerns the calculation of commission in holiday payments.
If the appeal is unsuccessful it could mean that commission-earning employees are entitled to compensatory pay outs.
National Living Wage
Friday 1st April is the day that a minimum wage of £7.20 for all workers over the age of 25 will finally come into force across the UK, an amount that is still lower than the Living Wage calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.
Research has found that Northern cities will be affected the most from the wage increase, as at least a quarter of the working populations of Sheffield, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool will benefit.
Free Childcare from September
The Government has proposed 30 hours of free childcare a week for parents of children aged between three and four. As outlined in this policy statement from last year some areas will see implementation of this in September 2016, with a full roll out planned for September 2017.
Trade Union Bill
The controversial Trade Union Bill 2015 could be in force by April. The introduction of thresholds and time limits on strike action is intended to reduce the number of union-led strikes.
Employment Tribunal Fees
On the subject of unions, Unison have indicated that they will mount a fourth attempt at repealing Employment Tribunal Fees. The Employment Tribunal admitted at the last hearing that the decline in the number of cases has been ‘worrying’.
The Counter-Extremism Bill
The Counter-Extremism Bill will allow employers to legally monitor their employees in order to identify any extremist behaviour. As it has already received Royal Assent the bill could be in place this year, although there is already mounting political opposition that could delay this.
The bill, which is intended to prevent extremists from working with children, raises serious questions about the definition of extremism, what makes employers qualified to recognise it, and how widely the powers can be used. These tie in with concerns about how the bill will work alongside existing data protection and discrimination legislation.
The EU referendum has to happen before the end of 2017 but there are rumblings that it may happen as soon as this summer. For businesses, an exit from the EU will lead to a shift away from EU employment law and a smaller number of skilled employees. Meanwhile the potential effect on international trade is already being debated either way.
However the world of employment law 2016 develops, HR Solutions are here to keep you informed, updated and prepared.