National Living Wage – 2016
With effect from 1 April 2016 employers will be required to pay staff aged 25 and over the national living wage. The national minimum wage will continue to apply for the under 25s. The national living wage rate will be £7.20, essentially requiring employers that currently pay the national minimum wage to top that up for eligible staff.
Rates for Parental Leave and Sick Pay
April normally brings rates increases for statutory parental pay rates (maternity, paternity, adoption) and sick pay. However, for the 2016/17 financial year we will see a rates freeze with pay remaining at the 2015 levels. The freeze is due to a fall in the consumer prices index.
Zero Hours Contracts
In 2015 exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts were rendered unenforceable by section 153 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. Regulations which came into force on 11 January 2016 reinforce that position by giving employees the right not to be unfairly dismissed or to be subject to any other detriment if they refuse or fail to comply with an exclusivity clause.
Regulation of Employment Agencies
In late 2015 the Government undertook consultation on the regulation of employment agencies/employment businesses (‘employment businesses’). Since 5 January 2015 employment business operating in Great Britain have been banned from advertising roles available in Great Britain exclusively in other EEA countries. However, employment businesses are currently permitted to fill such vacancies using work seekers already on their books. The Government’s consultation on its proposal to extend the reach of this prohibition, by preventing such employment businesses from engaging in any recruitment activity in EEA countries without advertising the relevant vacancies to the domestic market, is now due by 15 February 2016.