The 8 need-to-know laws for 2016

The employment partners at Howard Kennedy advise on getting to grips with the incoming laws.

Zero hours contracts – regulations giving workers the right to bring a claim if they are dismissed or subjected to a detriment because they breached an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract. Currently in draft form but expected to come in in March 2016 if not before.

National Living Wage (basically an increased National Minimum Wage) from April 2016 onwards – for workers aged 25 and over. The initial rate will be £7.20 per hour (50p more than the current full rate). Big impact on certain sectors e.g. care, hospitality, retail.

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Modern Slavery Act: supply chain transparency – in respect of financial years ending on 31 March 2016 or afterwards, businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more will need to publish an annual slavery and human trafficking statement. The statement must disclose what steps the organisation has taken to ensure that human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains or its business; or state that it has taken no such steps.

Gender pay gap reporting for businesses with 250 or more employees – regulations due to be made in March 2016 but no detailed proposals yet as to what information businesses will need to include in their reporting. We do know that businesses will need to include bonuses when calculating their overall gender pay gap. Likely to be an increased focus on this in procurement exercises.

Pensions auto-enrolment: more and more smaller or newer businesses coming within scope, all businesses will be caught by April 2017.

Holiday pay: various cases working their way through the appeal system in relation to whether voluntary overtime and commission need to be included in holiday pay. The short answer is probably yes, but in relation to commission in particular there are lots of question marks over how it should be calculated which the cases haven’t yet answered.

Trade Union Bill – currently working its way through the House of Lords. Increasing strike ballot thresholds, increasing notice requirements, stricter rules on picketing (generally driving a coach and horses through freedom of association).

Shared parental leave – being extended to grandparents by 2018 – not one for 2016 but worth having on the radar.



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