8 Big UK Law Changes That You Need To Know About in 2016

Hopefully you’re settling into 2016 nicely… and I hope this article won’t give you too much of a headache or send shivers down your spine. But we think it is essential reading, so please make sure you check it out.

Here are 8 of the biggest law reforms made by our government that will affect Employers in the UK in 2016.

1.Gender Pay Reporting

By 26th March 2016, regulations will have been introduced making it compulsory for companies with 250+ employees to publicly declare the pay gap between male and female employees. This legislation will not just take salary into account, but also bonus payments.

We don’t know specifics yet, but we can expect to hear more about what exactly employers will need to provide and when, in advance of the new laws coming into force, lets just wait and see.

2. National Living Wage

This mammoth change will affect you if you employ anybody aged 25 or over. On the 1st April 2016, we will see the introduction of the National Living Wage. This is a law that will set a new top rate of the national minimum wage, meaning that those aged 25 or over will need to be paid a minimum of £7.20 per hour.

3. No Increase to Certain Statutory Rates

Normally, we see statutory rates increase each year.

In 2016 however, the Government has proposed freezing the rates of statutory sick pay, maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay.

In other words, they will remain the same as in 2015.

4. Public Sector Exit Payments

New rules will soon apply to public sector staff who leave their jobs:

  • Exit payments will be capped at £95,000
  • Public sector employees who earn over £100k will need to repay exit payments if they return to the same sector within 12 months, this is a good one-dont you think?

5. Trade Union Bill

In 2016 we will see new laws that apply to trade unions, by way of the Trade Union Bill. These new laws make it tougher for trade unions to take industrial action, and include:

  • Voting threshold increased to 50%
  • Across important public services, at least 40% of people entitled to vote in a ballot must vote in favour of industrial action before any may be taken
  • Four month time limit after a ballot before industrial action can take place
  • Increased length of notice to warn an employer of a strike

6. Exclusivity Clauses

In 2015, exclusivity clauses within zero hour contracts were banned.

In 2016, we will see new regulations that aim to prevent employers avoiding the ban. These regulations are designed to give employees more power to complain to an employment tribunal if they have been dismissed or sanctioned for breaching an exclusivity clause.

7. Apprenticeships

We’ll be seeing a couple of changes to apprenticeship legislation. These are mainly focused at protecting and supporting apprenticeships:

  • The Government is aiming to tackle companies who use the term ‘apprenticeship’ in their job adverts, if the scheme they are running does not qualify as a statutory apprenticeship.
  • The Government is introducing an apprenticeship target for public sector organisations.

8.  Employing Foreign Workers

We see several changes introduced with The Immigration Bill. These changes will affect companies who employ foreign workers, and include laws such as:

  • Public-facing public sector workers must speak English fluently
  • Immigration skills charge for employers using foreign workers

A lot is changing for employers in 2016, and as always, it is important to stay vigilant and keep up to date with the latest employment legislation.

This list is not meant to cover all changes to employment law in 2016, however, if you see something important that you think we should include, leave it in the comments below and lets get the debate going!