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Hewett's Legal Corner #42 - January 2016

This months Legal Corner is once again courtesy of Sally Morris, Partner & Head of Employment at mfg Solicitors.


National Living Wage
The National Living Wage will be implemented through the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Regulations. The National Living Wage rates are due to come into force on 01st April 2016. As such, the rules for wage rates will be contained in the NMW Regulations.

The new National Living Wage is due to be introduced for workers aged 25 and over at a rate of £7.20 per hour. The NMW will continue to apply to workers aged 24 and under.

National Minimum Wage

For the period 1st October 2015 to 30th September 2016, the following rates shall continue to apply:-

•    Standard adult rate - £6.70
•    Development rate - £5.30
•    Young workers rate - £3.87
•    Apprenticeship rate - £3.30
•    Accommodation offset limit - £5.35

Sickness Payments

The rate of Statutory Sick Pay will remain at the rate of £88.45 per week until 5th April 2016.

Parental Payments from April 2015
All payments are per week and are at the following rates or 90% of normal weekly earnings if lower:-

•    Statutory maternity pay – 90% of normal weekly earnings (higher rate) or £139.58 (basic rate)
•    Maternity allowance - £139.58
•    Statutory paternity pay - £139.58
•    Statutory adoption pay – 90% of normal weekly earnings (higher rate) or  £139.58 (basic rate)
•    Statutory shared parental pay - £139.58

Compensation Limits from 6th April 2015 until 5th April 2016
Unfair dismissal:-

•    Basic award - £14,250
•    Compensatory award - £78,335 or one years’ salary if lower
•    Additional award - £12,350 – 24,700 (i.e. 26 – 52 week’s pay)

Redundancy Pay:-

•    £14, 250

European Union Referendum Bill 2015-16
The European Union Referendum Bill published by the Government enables them to hold a referendum on whether the UK and Gibraltar should remain in the EU. The referendum must take place by no later than December 2017. This could raise a number of changes given the impact EU Directives have on UK employment law.

Changes imposed by the Deregulation Act 2015
The key employment-related provisions are:-

•    Section 1 exempts self-employed from health and safety law if they have no employees and do not conduct a ‘prescribed undertaking’.
•    Section 2 removes the employment tribunals’ power to make wider recommendations in successful discrimination cases.
•    Section 6 enables Sikhs to wear a turban instead of a safety helmet in almost all workplaces, save for roles in the military or hazardous occupations.
•    Schedule 1 introduces the concept of an ‘approved English apprenticeship’ under an ‘approved English apprenticeship agreement’ replacing ‘apprenticeship agreements’. Employers should check the dates of their approved apprenticeship standard as to when this new type of agreement should be used.

Auto-enrolment of pensions
Employers are required to automatically enrol employees into a pension scheme once they have received their date by which their auto-enrolment duties come into force. Employers with fewer than 50 workers have been given staging dates between 1st June 2015 and 1 April 2017.

Overseas recruitment

Legislation currently prohibits ‘overseas only’ recruitment by employment agencies. The government is consulting on a ban on recruitment agencies recruiting work-seekers solely from overseas EEA countries without advertising the relevant vacancies to domestic work-seekers. The government is due to publish its response to the consultation on the regulation of recruitment agencies and further restrictions on overseas recruitment on 15th February 2016.

Employers who have queries regarding the above should contact Sally Morris at or on 01905 734032.

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