Square Circle: Employment Update

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Employment Update

From April those aged 25 and over will receive a minimum pay of £7.20 per hour

Further calls to scrap tribunal fees
MPs have made fresh calls to ditch employment tribunal fees arguing that the new rules have “undermined employee rights and encouraged rogue employers to flout the law”. Since 2013, claims to tribunals have fallen by an average of 65 per cent, fuelling the claim that many workers are being denied access to justice. The government has said that a review, which is currently underway, promises to move to consultation if the findings warrant it.

Introduction of the living wage
The new living wage becomes law from April 1st 2016. From April those aged 25 and over will receive a minimum pay of £7.20 per hour.

Claims sports direct pays below minimum wage
A recent report by the Guardian newspaper claims that company practices at Sports Direct have resulted in staff being paid below the minimum wage. Staff at the company’s warehouses are subject to comprehensive body searches at the end of their shifts which can add 15 minutes onto their day but is unpaid, effectively meaning some staff are paid below the current statutory rate of £6.70 per hour. In it’s last report the company have claimed to streamline their practices and thereby now ensure that they comply with minimum wage legislation. This report may cause other employers to take heed as many employ working practices that may, for example, require staff to be on premises a set time before a shift begins or to remain behind until a cash register tallies. Companies should ensure that staff are paid at least the minimum wage for all the time staff are required to be at their disposal. .

What is on the horizon in 2016?
What does 2016 hold for businesses in the area of employment law in 2016? Proposed changes to the way termination payments are treated for tax purposes are likely to cost employers in time and money if they are accepted. The consultation documents, prepared by the Office for Tax Simplification, recommend that all such payments are taxed with a small number of exemptions.
 
The government intends to introduce a CounterExtremism Bill with the main aim of stopping “extremists” working with children. There are many questions to be answered, such as what sort of information gathering will be justifiable, how this will tie in with data protection legislation and whether or not it is reasonable for employers to be best placed to decide who and who is not an extremist.
 
Further consultation is expected this year on family friendly policies including a response to the proposal for shared parental leave for working grandparents and also the plan to give 30 hours free childcare to working parents of children aged 3 and 4.
 
The gender pay gap continues to be an issue and the government’s response to its consultation last July is due in the next few months. This will look at how to introduce the requirement for employers with over 250 staff to provide regular information on their gender pay gap figures. Employers who fall into this category should already be conducting pay audits to establish if there are any issues to be addressed..

 

If you need any advice or help with introducing a policy in this area, contact Square Circle HR Ltd on
0141 248 7826 or email alison@squarecirclehr.com

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