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

Large employers must spend 0.5% on apprenticeships

The Chancellor in his recent spending review announced that large employers (those with a wage bill of £3 million or more) will have to commit to spend 0.5% of their payroll on funding apprenticeships from April 2017. The Government estimates that this will affect less than 2% of UK employers.

Prosecution of ex-City Link Directors fails

The case brought against three ex-directors of City Link has failed. It was brought following their failure to promptly inform the Secretary of State of its proposals to make 2,000 redundancies. The judge ruled that the three defendants had every hope of saving City Link and its workforce by placing the company into administration and notified the Government when it became clear that this would not happen.

£9 million illegal working penalties issued in three months

In the first three months of 2015, the total number of fines issued to employers for employing workers without the right to work in the UK was £9 million.

British Bill of Rights will replace Human Rights Act

The Government has delayed starting a 12 week consultation about its decision to abolish the Human Rights Act and to replace it with a new Bill of Rights to give it further time to consider the issues.

Only eight financial penalties ordered

Since 2014, Tribunals have been able to impose financial penalties of up to £5,000 on employers who breach workers’ rights where there is some form of “aggravating conduct”. Despite this, only eight penalties have been ordered and of these, six remain unpaid.

Recruitment is not ‘name blind’

The Government has announced that a number of large private and public sector organisations (who together employ 1.8 million employees in the UK) have committed to name-blind recruitment processes following research which showed that people with “white sounding” names are nearly twice as likely to get call-backs as those with “ethnic sounding” names. This means that applicants’ names will not be visible on application forms. It is hoped that this step will help improve diversity.

Grandparents to get shared parental leave

The Government has announced that the right to take shared parental leave will be extended to grandparents. It is not yet known if mothers will only be able to select one person to share the leave with (which would be relatively straightforward if this simply included the option of selecting a grandparent rather than their partner) or if grandparents can be chosen as well as the partner (which would be extremely complicated and potentially involve three different employers).

easyJet compensates staff for underpayment of holiday pay

easyJet has agreed to include commission in calculating cabin crews holiday entitlement and will also compensate eligible staff for underpayment of holiday for the two preceding years.

62% of employers approve National Living Wage

Research by Group Risk Development has found that 62% of employers said that they agreed with the introduction of a mandatory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour in April 2016 for employees aged 25 and over. The research was undertaken in September 2015 among a sample of 501 UK businesses with between 5 and 1,000 employees.

Zero hours guidance published

The Government has published guidance for employers on the use of zero hours contracts which sets out when they should, or should not, be used. Employers are not obliged to follow this.

Winter 2016

  • Legislation tracker - What does 2016 have in store?
  • Case tracker - What does 2016 have in store?
  • News in brief
  • Focus on HR - How not to handle a disciplinary process
  • Do you need to treat the time your workforce spend travelling to and from work as “working time”?
  • Case law update
  • Download Winter 2016 issue (PDF)