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Happy New Year!

BY Donald MacKinnon
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Happy New Year from everyone at Empire!

Now that 2016 is well and truly behind us and many are looking at 2017 with both optimism and trepidation we thought it would be interesting to look back at the major changes from 2016 and what to expect and prepare for in the coming year.

What happened in 2016

Holiday Pay – 2016 saw this case move forward. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision that commission should be included in holiday pay. Employers should consider reviewing their holiday pay policies as other forms of additional pay may be included at a later date.

National Living Wage – Those aged 25 and over are entitled to be paid at least £7.20 per hour. As there is an intention to increase this further in the next few years, employers should prepare for this in advance.

Gig Economy – One of the biggest cases last year was the Uber taxi driver tribunal. This ruled that drivers were actually ‘workers’ and not self-employed as claimed by the company. This is an expanding sector with companies like Deliveroo and Uber growing. This ruling means that these workers are entitled to statutory rights such as the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay. It is important that employers have their staff on the correct contract so they do not face claims for underpayment.

What to look out for in 2017

Tribunal Fees – The Supreme Court are expected to rule on this case this year. The trade union Unison have claimed that the fees that were introduced in 2013 have prevented genuine claims being brought and reduced access to justice.  It is not clear what the Supreme Court will rule, but to protect their businesses employers are encouraged to follow best practice and adhere to employment law to ensure they are in a good position to defend any tribunal claims.

Childcare Payment – The government is expected to replace childcare vouchers with a new tax free child care scheme. The details of this is unclear and we will explain this in greater depth when this comes to fruition.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting – From later this year, most likely April, certain companies will be obliged to publish details on employee pay. Failure to do so may result in a fine so it is important to find out if your business will be affected.

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