Employment Law: What’s changing?
Autumn is officially here, which means that HR practitioners are going to be busy getting to grips with the latest employment law changes. Updates and changes that you need to be aware of, include:
- National Minimum Wage
From 1st October 2016, National Minimum Wage rates are changing to the following:
- £6.95 for 21 to 24 year olds;
- £5.55 for 18 to 20 year olds;
- £4.00 for under 18’s and no longer of compulsory school age;
- £3.40 for apprentices.
The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rate for workers 25 and above are unaffected.
- English Language Requirement
It will become essential for workers in the public sector who are required to speak to members of the public, to be able to speak fluent English (in Wales it is English or Welsh).
Although there is no date confirmed, it’s anticipated that this will be introduced in October 2016.
- Illegal use of Foreign Workers
There is no set date yet, but new powers are to be introduced that allow employers to be served a closure notice if illegal working is suspected. Employers will initially be denied access to their premises for a maximum period of 48 hours, then a further order can be added to prohibit or restrict access to the employer’s premises for a period of up to 12 months.
- Visa Levy
The Government have indicated that in April 2017, they are to impose a visa levy on organisations that sponsor workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. This is to reduce businesses relying on migrant workers.
It’s planned that the money gathered from the apprenticeship levy will fund the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. The levy will be set at 0.5% of the employer’s pay bill, will be charged to all large employers.
The levy is expected to come into force on 6 April 2017.
- Public Sector Exit Payments
The Government is yet to confirm a commencement date, but there will be a new cap £95,000 of public-sector exit payments.
Employees that earnt £80,000 per year or more, who return to work in the public sector within one year of them leaving, will repay the exit payment made to them.
Repayment amounts will be tapered depending on the length of time from leaving their role.
- Tax-free Childcare Scheme
In early 2017, the Government will introduce a scheme that funds 20% of the yearly childcare costs for parents that qualify, for each child aged under 12 (capped at £2,000 per child).
This will be for families where both parents work and each parent earns less than £100,00 per year, and a minimum weekly income of at least equivalent to 16 hours at the rate of the national minimum wage.
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