A number of new employment law reforms have and will come into effect in 2016.

Gender Pay Reporting Begins

Large employers are now obliged to publish information about their gender pay gaps.  The new legislation had to be introduced by the 26th March 2016 and it will be made compulsory for organisation with 250 plus employees to publish information about the difference in pay between men and women.  This will also include gaps in bonus payments.

National Living Wage

This has been a significant change for the lowest paid workers and was introduced on the 1st April.  All employers must pay staff aged 25 and over the national living wage.  This is £7.20 per hour.

 Statutory Parental Pay Rates and Sick Pay Frozen

The Government proposed that the annual increase in the weekly rate of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory shared parental pay will not happen in 2016.

The rate normally increases ever year but a fall in the consumer prices and index has meant no uplift for 2016/2017.

Statutory sick pay also remains the same.

Restrictions placed on Public Sector Exit Payments.

Payments made to public sector employees, when they leave their jobs, are now subject to new rules.

First, to limited excessive payments, exit payments for public sector employees are capped at £95,000.  There will be a requirement for public sector employees with annual earnings of £100,000 or more to repay exit payments where they return to work in the same part of the sector within 12 months.

Trade Union Law Amended.

The Trade Union Bill reforms the law applying to trade unions, including placing more stringent requirements on trade unions before they take industrial action.

The measures include; increasing the voting threshold to 50%; introducing a requirement that 40% of all those entitled to vote in the ballot vote in favour of industrial action in important public services; setting a four month time limit for industrial action after the ballot; and increasing the amount of notice to be given to an employer of strike action.

 Workers given power to seek redress where an employer ignores ban on exclusivity clauses:

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts were prohibited in 2015.  New regulations came in to play on the 11th January, this year, aimed at addressing avoidance of the ban, giving employees the power to make a complaint to an employment tribuneral where they have been dismissed or subjected to a detriment following breach of an exclusivity clause.

New rules to protect apprenticeships

The Government bans organisations from using the term “apprenticeship” where it is applied to describe a scheme that is not a statutory apprenticeship, for example in a job advert.

This year there is also an apprenticeship target for public-sector organisations.

Updated laws on employing foreign workers

The Immigration Bill makes various changes to the law applying to foreign workers, including: creating an offence of illegal working; requiring all public-facing public sector employees to speak English fluently and introducing an immigration skills charge for employers that use foreign workers.