December 18, 2015

What will 2016 bring?

As 2015 draws to a close it is time to dust off the crystal ball and see what 2016 will bring.

It’s important to familiarise yourself with some of the forthcoming 2016 employment law changes, so here’s an overview of those which could have a significant impact on businesses:

New legislation

  • The National Living Wage will be brought in from the 1st April. It will be £7.20 per hour for workers of 25 years of age or more.
  • Employer NICs will be abolished from 6th April for apprentices under the age of 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit (which is currently £153 per week) for apprentices younger than 25.
  • Compulsory gender pay reporting for all employers employing more than 250 employees. Employers will be required to publish information showing whether or not there are differences in gender pay. There is currently no date as to when this will be introduced.
  • Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. From April 2016 (the exact date has not yet been announced) all organisations will be required to keep and maintain open for public inspection a register of persons having significant control over Companies (PSCs) and those identified as PSCs will be required to provide relevant information to Companies House.
  • From 6th April Tier 2 skilled migrant workers who apply to settle in the UK will be required to earn at least £35000pa.
  • An Immigration Bill will introduce new penalties for illegal workers and employers who employ them. No date is available as to when this will be introduced.
  • Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity and Parental Leave Pay will be frozen at the current levels.
  • Zero Hours Contracts: The Regulations introduced in 2015 will come into force on 11th January 2016. A clause in a zero hours contract banning a worker from working for another employer will become unenforceable and it will be unfair to dismiss an employee who is in breach of such a clause.

Judgements to look out for in the courts

  • Holiday Pay: The appeal in British Gas v Lock has been heard and judgement will be handed down in the New Year. This decision will be authorative and will hopefully end the uncertainties over the calculation of holiday pay.
  • Redundancy: The Court of Appeal will make an important decision in United States of America v Nolan in relation to the triggering and timing of collective consultations.
  • Whistleblowing: Following the introduction of the public interest requirement by parliament there have been two decisions by the EAT this year that have placed a very narrow interpretation on what constitutes “public interest” and the first of those, Chestertons v Nurmohamed will be considered during this year by the Court of Appeal.
  • Employment Tribunal Fees: UNISON have not given up and the Supreme Court will consider their claim for a judicial review of the decision to bring in fees.
  • Religious Discrimination: The ECJ will consider a French case called Bougnaoui v Micropole University where a female Muslim employee was instructed to remove her hijab when visiting a client and was dismissed when she refused. The decision will have ramifications across all European jurisdictions.
  • Disability Discrimination: The Supreme Court will review decision by the Court of Appeal in Essop v Home Office that a claimant in an indirect discrimination claim must show why a provision, criterion or practice disadvantages the group or individual claimant. This is significant because if the Supreme Court disagrees with the Court of Appeal then the burden of proof will fall on employers.
  • Equal Pay: Employment Tribunals will consider claims against ASDA and Sainsburys that revolve around “work of an equal value”. The impact of the decisions in these cases and the gender pay reporting legislation will mean that this will be the significant area of employment law in the coming year.

To keep up to date with all the latest changes in Employment Law, make sure you subscribe to our monthly employment law guide and other news updates.

By Peter Redman LLB

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