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Expert advice: employment law changes to look out for this year

With recommendations on big issues like the National Minimum Wage and regulation on gender pay reporting expected in 2016, a number of key developments in employment law are coming up that will affect co‑operatives of all kinds. Our Head of HR Services, Tim Knowles, gives an overview of what to look out for this year. 

January            

In case you missed it, following the introduction of the ban on exclusivity clauses brought in from May 2015, from 11 January 2016 your organisation can be taken to tribunal for dismissing someone for breaching an exclusivity clause, or subjecting them to a detriment.

Co-operatives UK has also begun rolling the exercise of sizing jobs in the co-operative sector. Beginning with a mapping exercise, it will allow participating co-ops to receive pay and benefit benchmarking information from HayGroup’s PayNet database, which contains pay and benefits data for circa 1.1m roles. This service is included in our HR Package.

February             

We await with interest the 2016 recommendations from the Low Pay Commission (LPC) on where the National Minimum Wage will rise to in October 2016.   This will be the first LPC report since the National Living Wage was announced in the summer budget.  We might see the announcement of the consolidation of review dates for the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

March  

Whilst the government consultation has closed, we expect regulations to require gender pay reporting to be brought in by March.  Hopefully the transitional arrangements will grant employers time to digest these regulations, given we have little indication of what they might look like.

Back by popular demand, Co-operative UK will re-run the Employment Law Update and Social Media in the Workplace training for those who missed Practitioners Forum 2015. If you are a partner member or subscriber to the HR package and are interested in attending please contact our HR Head of HR Services,

April     

Who could have missed the planned introduction of the National Living Wage, £7.20 per hour for workers aged 25 and above? The government has, however, announced that Statutory Sick, Adoption, Maternity, Paternity, and Share Parental Pay will stay at the 2015 rates.

June     

You can keep up to date with our employment law update webinar. Free to all Co-operatives UK members, it takes place on Tuesday 14 June 2016 at 1pm.

October             

The National Minimum Wage, for those aged 24 and below, should increase now if it is to increase.

Keep your eye out for the Low Pay Commission’s report which should plot the next step for the National Living Wage.  Fingers crossed for some indication of how this will play out in future years as well.  If we hear nothing in the February Low Pay Commission report on whether or not the review dates of the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will be brought together, we should hear it now.

Look out also for the annual uprating of the voluntary Living Wage published by the London Living Wage Foundation.

November

Practitioners Forum 2016 – an opportunity to join HR Forum presentations and more.  Hold the date, Tuesday 17 November 2016.  See http://www.uk.coop/PF16  

Also expected this year

Watch out for more information on the Apprenticeship Levy. It is not due to come into force until 2017, but details are awaited and could land in 2016.

The Trade Union Bill has reached its second reading in the House of Lords.  Amendments to the original proposal are yet to be settled, so more clarity on revisions to ballot thresholds are expected.

Following our previous updates, tribunal hearings and appeals on holiday pay are flowing, so expect to see the judgments of what should and should not be included in holiday pay in 2016.

The government’s consultation on the simplification of the tax and National Insurance treatment of termination payments closed in October 2015 and the response is expected in 2016.

Co-operatives interested in receiving ongoing advice and support on HR might be interested in our HR Package

Written by Tim Knowles
Updated: 04/02/2016