Employment Law Updates

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The Employment Law Group at Boyes Turner LLP give an update on new and upcoming employment law issues facing the Leisure & Hospitality Sector. The update covers topics including increases to the National Minimum Wage, the Modern Slavery Act and the Government’s new Apprenticeship Levy.

Changes coming 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.
  1.   The annual increase to National Minimum Wage rates takes place:

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

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

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

Apprenticeships from £2.73 to £3.30/hour

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

 

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 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.
  1.  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 5 (or 17 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 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. The Government has launched a consultation on its proposal to introduce an “Apprenticeship Levy” to support employers providing training for apprentices. The idea is that funds raised will then be provided in the form of electronic vouchers that can be used to purchase training from recognised providers. The objective behind the scheme is to reverse the decline in on-the-job training, thereby increasing productivity and the number and quality of apprenticeships. There are concerns around how the scheme will operate in practice and whether it is the right way to do it. The consultation ends on 2 October 2015.

For more information on anything in this article or to find out more about what the Leisure and Hospitality team at Boyes Turner can offer please contact 0118 952 7284 or email hgoss@boyesturner.com.

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