Latest Legislation

Employment law is constantly changing and so it’s vital that you are aware of the most up-to-date and current legislation.

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November 2017

  • We urge companies that run their annual leave year from 1st April – 31st March, offering the statutory minimum annual leave of 20 days plus bank holidays, to check the wording in their Contracts of Employment. The Working Time Regulations entitle employees and workers to a minimum of 5.6 weeks’ annual leave (28 days annual leave for a 5-day working week). However, due to the way Easter falls in 2018, straddling March and April, some employees may experience an unanticipated shortfall in their annual leave entitlement. If this is the case, a minor change to the wording can prevent any complications.

October 2017

  • On Friday 30th September 2017 the Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force. This new law has the facility to hold UK companies criminally accountable (unless they are able to prove that reasonable preventative steps have been taken) if they have not prevented tax avoidance anywhere in the world which has been committed by an ‘associated person’ i.e. an employee, a worker or contractor. Further information regarding the Act can be found via: 2017 No.876 Criminal Law

September 2017

  • Reminder to all businesses with an annual turnover of at least £36million; if your financial year runs from April to March then preparations should be well underway for the publication of your second annual modern slavery statement. Whilst the UK Government has not stipulated a date they do state “ as soon as reasonably practical after the end of each financial year’” and offer a six month time frame in their guidance notes. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-in-supply-chains-a-practical-guide

August 2017

  • Reminder to working parents with children aged 3-4 years; from 1st September 2017, the Government is increasing the free childcare scheme to 30 hours per week. The extended free hours apply to families were both parents work, or for single parent families where the parent works. For either group, all parties must earn the equivalent of 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage / National Living Wage rate or earn less than £100k per annum.  For further information, go to https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) needs to be a high priority for employers throughout the coming year. Audit checks on how personal data is collected and processed need to meet with the GDPR conditions for employee consent. This is likely to see Employers having to create/amend policies and processes to ensure they are fully compliant with the new governance and record-keeping requirements due to come into force in May 2018.

April 2017

  • 6th April, if an employer’s payroll per annum exceeds £3 million they are required to pay a 0.5% Apprenticeship levy on their total payroll bill. For further information, please look at our April blog
  • Additionally on the 6th April changes to the salary-sacrifice scheme come into effect. Schemes that started before April 2017 will be protected until April 2018, except those relating to cars, accommodation and school fees which are protected until April 2021. The following schemes are currently not affected by the changes: pension savings (including pension advice), childcare, ultra-low emission cars and cycle-to-work.

March 2017

  • Be prepared on the 1st April we will see an increase to both the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. The following quick ‘at a glance table will ensure that you are paying your people accurately.
Worker Age

Minimum Hourly Rate

Worker ages 25+

£7.50 per hour

Worker aged 21-24

£7.05 per hour

Worker aged 18-20

£5.60 per hour

Worker aged 16-17

£4.05 per hour

Apprentice aged under 19, or aged over 19 and in their first year of apprenticeship

£3.50 per hour

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

  • 1st December 2016 saw the implementation of Section 38 of the Immigration Act 2016. This provision allows chief immigration officers to issue an employer with a closure notice for a maximum of 48 hours where they reasonably suspect that illegal foreign workers are being employed and the employer has already committed certain specific offences of illegal working. An application can then be made to the relevant court for an illegal working compliance order which can prohibit or restrict access to the employers premises for a period of 12 months, which can be extended a further 12 months in certain circumstances.

November 2016

  • On 21st November 2016 ss77. to 84 of the Immigration Act 2016 came into force. This legislation will ensure that staff with customer-facing roles in the public sector speak fluent English, and/or Welsh for public authorities in Wales; including (but not limited to): central Government departments; non-departmental public bodies; councils and other local government bodies; NHS bodies; state-funded schools;the police and the armed forces; and public corporations.
  • At this time, providers of public services employed in the voluntary-sector and private-sector do not have to apply the language requirements.                                                                                                
  • The 24th November saw the start of a phased salary increase for tier 2 sponsored migrant workers on the points-based immigration system. From this date the increase will be to £25,000 with a second rise in April 2017 to £30,000. This change does not currently affect nurses, radiographers, paramedics or secondary school teachers of mathematics, chemistry, physics, computer science and Mandarin who are exempt until July 2019.
  • The minimum threshold for new entrants remains unchanged at £20,800.

October 2016

  • 1st October 2016 saw a change in minimum hourly rates for workers 24 years and under; including Apprentices aged under 19. The following quick glance table will ensure that you are paying accurately.
  • The National Minimum Wage rate for those aged 25 and over remains the same at £7.20 p.h.
Worker Age

Minimum Hourly Rate

Worker aged 21-24

£6.95 per hour

(from 01.10.16)

Worker aged 18-20

£5.55 per hour

(from 01.10.16)

Worker aged 16-17

£4.00 per hour

(from 01.10.16)

Apprentice aged under 19, or aged over 19 and in their first year of apprenticeship

£3.40 per hour

(from 01.10.16)

September 2016

  • 7th September 2016 the new whistleblowing rules come into force within the financial sector. This applies to banks and building societies and some insurance and investment companies.

August 2016

July 2016

  • The Immigration Act 2016 came into force on 12th July and introduces a range of measures to crack down on businesses that employ migrants illegally. The Act makes a number of changes to the criminal offence of employing illegal workers. The Act introduces tougher sanctions on employers, increasing the maximum custodial sentence on indictment from 2, to 5 years. It also introduces a completely new power to close premises for up to 48 hours where a business employs illegal migrants.  The Act will also make it easier to prosecute employers who deliberately turn a blind eye to employing illegal workers. The existing criminal offence of ‘knowingly employing an illegal migrant’ will be extended to apply when an employer knows or has ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that a person is an illegal worker. The Immigration Act also makes illegal working a criminal offence in its own right, with a maximum custodial sentence of 6 months and/or a fine. Wages paid to the illegal worker can be seized as the proceeds of crime. A Government factsheet is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-bill-2015-16

June 2016

  • The Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 came into force on 26th May. This new legislation targets substances that are commonly referred to as ‘legal highs’ and generally have 3 main effects – as stimulants, sedatives or hallucinogens. Whilst screening for their use is difficult, it is recommend that employers look at the mind-altering affects they cause rather than the drugs themselves, such as an employee’s behaviour or ability to work. Check that your policies include ‘substances’ and update accordingly to ensure your Disciplinary procedures cover this relatively new phenomenal.

May 2016

  • Employers with 250 or more employees in the private and voluntary sectors must publish an annual report with details of their gender pay and bonus gap, with the first report to be published by 30th April 2018. It is not unreasonable to assume that suppliers to such companies, regardless of their size, may be asked to provide similar reports.
  • The gender pay gap information must include the mean difference in bonus payments between men and women. The information on bonus payments must be based only on data for those employees who receive bonus pay during the 12 months to 30th April in each year. The first gender bonus pay report must be calculated using pay information for the 12 months from 1st May 2016. 

April 2016

  • From 1st April, the new ‘National Living Wage’ of £7.20 per hour was introduced for workers aged 25 and over. It becomes the new compulsory top rate for the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
  • The NMW rates for other workers remain unchanged until 1st October 2016, when it has been announced the rates will be:
Category of worker

Current NMW hourly rate

NMW Rate from 1st October 2016

Worker aged 25+

£7.20

£7.20

Worker aged 21-24

£6.70

£6.95

Development rate for worker aged 18-20

£5.30

£5.55

Rate for worker aged 16-17

£3.87

£4.00

Apprentice in 1st year of their apprenticeship

£3.30

£3.40

  • The Government announced that in future the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates will be increased together, starting April 2017.
  • From 1st April 2016, the penalty for employers found not to have paid the National Minimum Wage doubled, to 200% of the total underpayment (for pay reference periods that began before 1st April 2016, the penalty is 100%). There is a minimum payment of £100 and a maximum payment of £20,000; note that the maximum payment applies for each worker who has been underpaid.
  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental and Adoption Pay remained frozen at £139.58 per week.
  • Statutory Sick Pay also remained frozen, at £88.45 per week.
  • From 6th April, employers no longer needed to pay employer national insurance contributions for apprentices aged under 25.
  • From 6th April, employer-sponsored skilled foreign workers coming to the UK under tier 2 of the immigration points system are required to earn a minimum salary of £35,000.
  • From 6th April, Tribunal Enforcement Officers can impose a financial penalty on employers that fail to pay a Tribunal award or ACAS settlement sum. The penalty will be 50% of the unpaid award, subject to minimum and maximum amounts and a reduction for prompt payment.

March 2016

      • From 31st March, larger companies with a total turnover of at least £36 million per year and whose financial year ended on or after 31st March 2016, have to comply with the duty to publish a ‘slavery and human trafficking’ statement for that financial year. It seems inevitable that the obligation to publish anti-slavery and trafficking statements will filter down to smaller companies who provide goods or services to these larger companies.

January 2016

      • The ‘Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015’ went live on 11th January 2016. These provide protection for workers on Zero Hours Contracts, giving them protection from detriment and dismissal (irrespective of their age or length of service) for breaching an exclusivity clause in their Contract of Employment (by doing work or performing services under another Contract or other arrangement). From this date, they therefore became able to bring a complaint to an Employment Tribunal for compensation if they are subjected to a detriment or are dismissed.

October 2015

      • National Minimum Wage increases from £6.50 to £6.70 for workers aged 21 and over; from £5.13 to £5.30 for workers aged 18 to 20; from £3.79 to £3.87 for workers aged 16 to 17; and from £2.73 to £3.30 for Apprentices.

September 2015

      • Enterprise Bill protects the term ‘apprentice’ by (amongst other things) making it a criminal offence to offer an apprenticeship course or training if it is not a statutory apprenticeship.

August 2015

      • Online driving licence checking code is now valid for 21 days instead of 72 hours.

July 2015

      • The Government announced that a new compulsory Living Wage of £7.20 per hour will be introduced next April for all working people aged 25 and over.
      • New regulation came into effect to prevent claims of arrears of holiday pay going back more than 2 years.
      • Fit for Work haven’t to inform when the service will be rolled out in Bedfordshire.

June 2015

      • All young people in England will be required to continue in education or training until the age of 18.

May 2015

      • Exclusivity clauses in Zero Hours Contracts were banned from 26th May.
      • Employers who underpay the National Minimum Wage will face a maximum penalty of £20,000, on a per worker basis rather than per notice.

April 2015

      • Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental and Adoption Pay all increased from £138.18 to £139.58 on 6th April.
      • Statutory sick pay increased from £87.55 to £88.45 on 6th April.
      • Employment Tribunal awards limits rose as the maximum compensatory award increased from £76,574 to £78,335 and, the limit on a ‘week’s pay‘ increased from £464 to £475 from 6th April.
      • The right to Unpaid Ordinary Parental Leave was extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 from 5th April.

March 2015 

      • New drug-driving law introduced in England and Wales aims to catch those who drive under the influence of drugs.

January 2015 

      • Employment agencies and businesses in GB are banned from advertising jobs exclusively in other European Economic Area countries without advertising them at home.
      • Government announced that it will implement improvements (in stages, from 6th April) to the CIS for taxation.
      • ECJ ruled obesity as a disability under certain circumstances.

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If you’re not 100% sure you know the full facts about employment legislation and the changes we are facing, contact us now. Whatever your business, whatever your concerns, we offer no-nonsense advice and practical support to ensure you comply fully with all relevant legislation. No fuss. No worry. No costly mistakes.