Irwin Mitchell | Focus on Employment | Spring 2016 - News in Brief

ACAS report highlights increase in bullying

ACAS says that its helpline took over 20,000 calls last year on bullying and harassment and believes that this might mean that workplace bullying is on the increase. ACAS are going to begin a public debate on workplace bullying to help identify better solutions and is considering introducing a new code of practice on unwanted behaviour in the workplace - Workplace Trends 2016

Enforcement of Tribunal Awards and Settlements

BIS has published its form for claiming penalties from employers for non-payment of tribunal awards or settlements.

Under the new scheme which came into effect in April, a Claimant who has not been paid any sums under a settlement or tribunal award can ask BIS to issue a penalty of 50% of the outstanding amount, subject to a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5,000 - View guidance and form

Low Pay Commission consultation on national minimum wage and national living wage

The LPC has opened a consultation seeking views on the existing rates of NMW and NLW and the rates that should apply from April 2017. Views are also sought on issues surrounding compliance and enforcement. The consultation closes on 29 July 2016.

From April 2017, all of the rates, including the NLW, will be uprated in parallel. The LPC will recommend to the government in October 2016 the level of rates to apply from April 2017.

Companies criticised for reducing overtime to meet costs of NLW

A number of recognised “brands” such as Tesco and B&Q have faced widespread criticism following allegations that they have cut overtime rates to fund increases in pay to workers aged 25 and over.

Revised HMRC guidance on employment intermediaries

HMRC published updated interim guidance on the tax and reporting obligations of employment intermediaries and businesses contracting with them. This will be included in HMRC’s Employment Status Manual. The revised guidance specifies that an agency agreement falling within the rules need not name a particular worker and that the legislation applies to any substitute sent by a worker. It is irrelevant whether the agreement provides for more than services (for example, goods). The revised guidance confirms that the test of supervision, direction or control also applies when determining whether the employment intermediaries travel expenses rules apply - View guidance

Advice on potential employment implications of Brexit

The TUC has published a 55 page advice, written by Michael Ford QC, on the potential implications of Brexit on employment and health and safety law.

The advice states: “All the social rights in employment currently required by EU law would be potentially vulnerable” and that there would be years of uncertainty for workers and employers if the UK votes to leave the European Union - Read more

Long-term health conditions threaten UK economy

The Work Foundation has published a report which indicates that the number of people with long-term conditions threatens to overwhelm Britain’s economy and the NHS. It believes that the situation will get worse unless the government takes urgent action. It suggests that government should offer tax rebates and financial incentives to employers that support people with long-term conditions to remain at work.

Flexible hiring could help improve performance

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in a study of 3.5 million job ad’s found that only 6.2% of vacancies for “quality” jobs (those paying at least £10.63 per hour) were advertised with options to work flexibly. This rate was considered to be the amount parents, older people and disabled people need to earn to meet basic minimum income standards. It found a wide gap between flexible working (which is widely available) and flexible hiring (which is relatively rare). The report suggests that this cuts employers off from a proportion of the skilled market and is particularly damaging for those sectors with skills shortages such as IT and engineering. Read report

Employer National Insurance contributions for young apprentices abolished

Employers of apprentices aged 25 and under no longer have to pay NICs. The change came into effect on 6 April 2016 and applies to both existing employers with apprentices and those taking on a new apprentice.


Spring 2016