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Jessica  Clough
Jessica Clough,
Summer legislation round-up
19 August 2015

This week, we bring you a round-up of what to expect in Employment Law over the next few months and a look at possible changes for the future.

Changes coming in this Autumn:

1 October 2015


1.      Employment Tribunals will lose the right to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases e.g. that an employer should offer staff training or introduce a diversity policy.

2.     The annual increase to National Minimum Wage rates takes place:

    1. Workers 21yrs+ from £6.50 to £6.70/hour

    2. Workers 18-20yrs from £5.13 to £5.30/hour

    3. Workers under 18yrs from £3.79 to £3.87/hour

    4. Apprenticeships from £2.73 to £3.30/hour

Employers should note that there will be another increase in hourly rates for workers who are 25yrs+ when the "National Living Wage" is brought in during April 2016. This will increase their minimum payment to £7.20/hour.

3.     Existing Health and Safety regulations will be consolidated into the Deregulation Act. Under this Act self-employed people with no employees will be exempt from some provisions of health and safety law.

Autumn 2015

1.     The Modern Slavery Act, which received royal assent on 29 July 2015, is expected to come into force in October 2015. It will impose new duties on companies who carry on business (or part of a business in any part of the UK) with an annual turnover of £36 million per year, to have transparency around their supply chains and to produce an annual report on what they are doing to combat modern slavery.

2.     The Childcare Payments Act 2014 will introduce a new tax-free childcare scheme. It is anticipated this will come into force during the autumn. It will give eligible working families 20% of qualifying childcare costs for children under 5yrs (or 17yrs for disabled children), and top up payments capped at max of £2,000 per child per year. Unlike the current regime, the new scheme will not depend on participation by employers or salary sacrifice.

For the future

 1.     The Employment (Amendment) Bill, is proposing increased record keeping duties for employers. In addition to the existing information (such as name, address, basic rate of pay), they will now be required to keep records of employee's (and former employees) key employment terms and to provide a written copy to employees if requested to do so. It also proposes an obligation on employers to provide employees with accurate itemised monthly payslips. There will be new financial penalties for failure to comply with either of these duties.

2.      The tax treatment of termination payments is currently the subject of an ongoing consultation. Its purpose is to simplify and remove confusion from what is and is not taxable on termination.

The consultation, which ends on 16 October 2015, proposes that all payments made in connection with termination should be classified as earnings and therefore subject to tax and National Insurance. The proposals include removing the £30,000 "tax free" band and replacing it with a basic tax free exemption of £6,000 after 2 years' employment, increasing by £1,000 for each additional year up to maximum sum, which is yet to be determined.

3.      A consultation relating to the new Trade Union Bill. The consultation ends on 9 September 2015 and is looking, among other things, at whether employers should be permitted to hire agency staff to cover roles affected by industrial action.

4.     The consultation on section 147 of Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, which requires those employers with at least 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap statistics, has now finished. S.147 is expected to be brought into force in Spring 2016.

For more information on anything in this article or to find out more about what the Employment Team can offer please contact the employment group on 0118 952 7284 or email [email protected].

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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