Irwin Mitchell | Focus on Education | Legislation

What is in force or expected to come into force this year?

1 January


“Prescribed persons” are required to produce annual reports of whistleblowing disclosures (without identifying the worker who made the disclosure, their employer or other person about whom the disclosure was made).

11 January

Zero hours contracts

Regulations came into force which provides the right to unfair dismissal protection for employees working under a zero hours contract, who are dismissed because the employee has failed to comply with an exclusivity clause.

1 April

National Living Wage

National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over will be introduced at the rate of £7.20 per hour.

1 April

Penalties for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage

Penalties for failing to pay the appropriate rates doubled from 100% of the shortfall in wages to 200% of the shortfall, capped at £20,000 per worker.

6 April

Increase to ET limits

Increase in the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal to £78,962 (from £78,335).

Increase in the maximum amount of a week’s pay used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic award for unfair dismissal claims to £479 (from £475).

6 April

Statutory payments for SMP

There will be no increase in the weekly rates. These will remain as follows:

  1. SMP, SAP; PP and ShPP - £139.58 per week
  2. Sick pay - £88.45 per week.

23 June

EU Referendum

Referendum on whether UK should remain in the EU.

Expected October 2016

Gender Pay Reporting

Employers with over 250 employees will have to publish details of their gender pay gap. This will not apply to public sector employers yet.

Date TBC

Repayment of public sector exit payments

Qualifying individuals will be obliged to notify their new and previous employer where they propose to return to any part of the public sector (as an employee, self employed contractor or office holder) after they have received a public sector exit payment within the previous 12 months.

Public sector exit payments include those paid for loss of employment, including enhanced redundancy payments, discretionary payments to buy out actuarial reductions to pensions and severance payments. It does not apply to payments in lieu of notice, contractual bonus payments or those made in connection with incapacity, or payments awarded to the individual by a court or tribunal. Qualifying individuals are those who earned £80,000 or more within 12 months of receiving their exit payment.

Repayment will be tapered, so for example, an employee returning within two months of receiving an exit payment will repay more than an employee returning nine months after receiving the payment.

Date TBC

Exit payments and apprenticeships

The Enterprise Bill 2015-16 will introduce:

  • A £95,000 cap on exit payments made to public sector workers to end six-figure payoffs
  • Regulations to restrict the use of the word “apprenticeship” to Government-accredited schemes and to increase the number of public sector apprenticeships offered.

Date TBC

Trade unions

Changes to balloting rules for industrial action including enhanced rules for “essential public services”, removing the prohibition on using agency staff to cover striking employees, measures on picketing, facility time, political donations and additional powers for the Certification Officer.

Date TBC

Tax treatment of termination payments

Proposals include treating all payments in lieu of notice as taxable. The Government’s response to the recent consultation is expected later this year.

Date TBC

Company directors

All company directors should be natural persons (not corporate entities). There will be a 12 month grace period after which corporate directors will cease to be directors by operation of law.