Changes to the National Minimum Wages

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 lays down minimum levels of hourly pay for certain employees. The current rate for those aged 21 and over is £6.70 per hour. From 1 April 2016, the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2016 introduce the national living wage, set at £7.20 per hour, for workers aged 25 and over.

The National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 make sure that the hourly rate, at which a worker is entitled to be paid in respect of his or her work in any pay reference period, is the rate that is in force on the first day of that period. The pay reference period is a month or, in the case of a worker who is paid wages by reference to a period shorter than a month, that period. Therefore, where a pay reference period begins before 1 April 2016, the old rate of the national minimum wage will apply for that pay reference period.

From 1 April 2016, the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2016 introduce a compulsory national living wage of £7.20 per hour for all workers aged 25 and over. The Regulations also double the financial penalties for which employers will be liable if they are found to have paid any workers below the national minimum wage. The penalty is increased from 100% to 200% of the total underpayment for all workers specified in the HMRC notice of underpayment.

If you need to know more about these changes, how they affect your business and your employees, or how to handle the changes, come to our next Employment Law Update workshop. It is being held on 12 April 2016 in Wargrave, Berkshire and costs just £20 +VAT. Click here for details and online booking.

The Year Ahead – Expected Changes to Employment Law

In 2016, employers will see a number of key Employment Law changes. Here is a summary of those agreed so far, to help you prepare for how they might affect your business.

January 2016

Redress for workers punished for breaching exclusivity clause – Regulations came into force on 11 January 2016 to enable workers who suffer a detriment, or are dismissed as a result of breaching an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, to make a complaint to an employment tribunal.

March 2016

Gender pay reporting details revealed – Regulations must be introduced by 26 March 2016 that will require employers with 250 or more employees to publish information about their gender pay gaps.

April 2016

National living wage introduced – A new compulsory national living wage, which works as the top rate of the national minimum wage, will be introduced on 1 April 2016 for workers aged 25 and over.

Duty to prepare modern slavery statement takes effect – The duty to prepare a slavery and human trafficking statement (which has been in force since 29 October 2015) will apply in relation to financial years ending on or after 31 March 2016, for companies with a turnover of at least £36 million per year. This will begin to take effect for employers from 1 April 2016, depending on the timing of their financial year.

Penalty for failure to pay national minimum wage doubled – Draft Regulations double the penalty for non-payment of the national minimum wage and the national living wage for pay reference periods starting on or after 1 April 2016.

Statutory pay changes – The maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy pay, and other awards such as the basic award for unfair dismissal, is likely to increase on 6 April 2016. The weekly rates of statutory sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay will not increase for 2016/17.

October 2016

National minimum wage – This may rise on 1 October 2016, subject to the prevailing economic conditions and the Low Pay Commission’s report, which is due to be delivered to the Government in February 2016.

There are many other changes that are yet to be confirmed, including the Trade Union Bill coming into force, a cap on public-sector exit payments being introduced and new rules on apprenticeships. We’ll bring you news of all these and other changes as they are confirmed. If you have any questions about these changes and how they affect your employees and your business, do get in touch by calling 0118 940 3032 or by clicking here to email us. We will be running our next Employment Law Update workshop on 12 April 2016. Click here for details and online booking.

Is Your Staff Handbook Up To Date for 2016?

Is Your Staff Handbook Up To Date for 2016?

Every time Employment Law changes, your staff handbook will become more out of date. Changes are made to Employment Law at least twice a year – usually around April and October. If you haven’t checked your Staff Handbook in the last three years, it will be very out of date by now. This means that some of your employee policies could be very out of date and no longer legal.

Why do you need a Staff Handbook?

A Staff Handbook lets you tell your employees about your workplace rules in an efficient, uniform way. Your employees will know what is expected of them and what they can expect of you. A Staff Handbook can provide your company with valuable legal protections, when employees understand the rules of your organisation. It also gives you a good place to collect policies that must be in writing, such as policies on smoking, social media use, or family and medical leave.

How do you keep your Handbook up to date?

To help you bring your Handbook up to date and in line with current legislation, we can review it for you and make recommendations on what needs to be changed. Send us your Staff Handbook as a Word file and we will read through it – confidentially, of course. We will then send you a list of recommended changes that need to be made. The cost for this review is just £195 +VAT.

Once you have our recommendations, you can make the changes yourself. Or we can do them for you – just ask for a quote for bringing your Handbook fully up to date. Call 0118 940 3032 for more details or click here to email your Staff Handbook to us.