employment law updateEnsuring compliance with the ever increasing amount of employment legislation is a challenge for any business, so BOSS HR have put together the following update to provide you with the need to knows for 2015 onwards.

It is vital to understand not only the Government’s legislative changes but also the impact of case law to make sure your business is aware of the legal risks currently affecting HR.

2015 has already brought numerous employment legislation changes, for example the introduction of shared parental leave and pay, significant changes to statutory adoption leave and pay, extension in the child’s age limit for unpaid parental leave, ban on exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts and the new Fit for Work service.

There have also been some interesting cases such as the Tyco case in which the European Court of Justice (ECJ) found that time spent by a mobile worker travelling between home and customer visits counts as working time and the groundbreaking caste discrimination case Tirkey v Chandok and another where the employment tribunal upheld Ms Tirkey’s various claims and she was awarded £183,774 in unpaid wages, with further compensation to come for race discrimination.

A case to hit the headlines in 2014/2015 is Bear Scotland v Fulton. In this case the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that regular non-guaranteed overtime should be included in holiday pay calculations and failure to pay such amounts could result in employers being sued for under payment of holiday pay for up to 2 years. However the judgement limited the potential for workers to succeed with claims for historical non payment of holiday pay; if there is more than a 3 month gap during which there is no underpayment of holiday pay then it does not form part of a series of unlawful deductions from wages.

 

As if that wasn’t enough there are further employment law changes in the tail end of 2015 and throughout 2016:-

 

01.10.2015: The Deregulation Act 2015 removes the power of employment tribunals to make wider recommendations for the benefit of the employer’s workforce following a successful discrimination claim. From 1st October tribunals will only be able to make recommendations for employers to take steps to reduce the adverse effect of the discrimination in relation to the claimant.

 

01.10.2015: Increases to the National Minimum Wage as follows:
£6.70 per hour: Over 21 years
£5.30 per hour: 18 – 21 years
£3.87 per hour: Under 18 years
£3.30: Apprentices (for apprentices aged 16 – 18 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year).

 

01.10.2015: Large commercial employers with a turnover of more than £36 million are now required to publish an annual “slavery and human trafficking statement” on steps they have taken to ensure that no slavery exists anywhere in their business or supply chain.
Currently no guidance on the statements has been published. It is expected that worldwide suppliers are more likely to be exposed to the risks of slavery and human trafficking.

Our advice is to create a slavery and human trafficking policy that clearly states your commitment to anti-slavery and human trafficking, documenting the steps that have been taken to ensure no slavery or human trafficking exists in your business and to ask your suppliers to sign up to that policy.

 

04.2016: A new minimum “living wage” of £7.20 per hour is introduced for workers aged 25 and over with a view to increasing to no more than £9 per hour by 2020. The minimum wage will still apply for workers aged 24 and under.

 

04.2016: The new State Pension for people reaching state pension age on or after 6 April 2016. To claim the new State Pension individuals must be:

  • A man born on or after 6 April 1951; or
  • A woman born on or after 6 April 1953
  • Those claiming will usually require at least 10 years qualifying service on their NI record (these do not have to be 10 years in a row) and the individual was:
  • Working and paid National Insurance contributions;
  • Receiving National Insurance credits, e.g. for unemployment, sickness or as a parent or carer; or
  • Paying voluntary National Insurance contributions.

The full new State Pension will be no less than £151.25 per week. The actual amount individuals will be able to claim will be set in autumn 2015.

 

During 2016: Compulsory gender pay reporting is to be introduced. Employers who employ more than 250 employees will be required to publish information on the gender pay gap within their organisation.

Provisions are already in place for employers who lose an equal pay claim or a related sex discrimination claim at an employment tribunal to carry out an equal pay audit.

 

Date to be confirmed: Following the caste discrimination case of Tirkey v Chandok and another, the government intends to make “caste” a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. The definition of “race” under the Equality Act 2010 currently includes “colour”, “nationality” and “ethnic or national origin”. In the above case, the EAT held that the Act’s “ethic origins” is broad enough to encompass characteristics determined by decent, which could include “caste”.

 

Date to be confirmed: EU General Data Protection Regulations comes into force with the aim of creating a single set of enforceable rules on data protection within the EU.

 

Beyond 2016: There are changes already being talked about such as the extension of shared parental leave to include grandparents.

 

 

BOSS HR will keep you informed of further changes by regularly posting updates to the website.

 

 

Employment Law Update for 2015-16