Emplaw Monthly - March 2016
New this month at Emplaw.co.uk
Marking Apprenticeship Week, this article explains the new Approved English Apprenticeship regime and the contractual requirements for engaging an apprentice. It also looks at funding arrangements and links to information on apprenticeship arrangements in the rest of the United Kingdom
Childcare Vouchers and Maternity Leave
Emplaw Online contributors, Penningtons Manches, explore the consequences of the recent decision in Peninsula Business Services Ltd v Donaldson UKEAT/0249/15, on how childcare vouchers may be provided. Subscribers can also see the Emplaw Online case summary.
Focus On Emplaw Online Content
Many of our law cards on Categories of Workers have recently been reviewed and will now be kept up to date by Tim Wilkinson, Barrister from leading North East Chambers Parklane Plowden. Particularly topical for this month is our incisive guide on Apprentices.
With over 7000 cases and hundreds of law guides at Emplaw Online, we understand that you need to find what you need quickly
- If you are looking for a specific phrase, putting it in speech marks e.g. “Minimum Wage Regulations” will pinpoint the search
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Employment Law News
On Wednesday 16 March the Chancellor presented his Budget to Parliament. Some of the items of interest to employment lawyers are:
- The personal allowance will increase to £11,500 and the higher rate threshold will rise to £45,000 in April 2017
- From April 2018 employers will need to pay National Insurance Contributions on pay-offs (e.g. termination payments) above £30,000 where income tax is also due
- Where employees lose their job, payments up to £30,000 will remain tax-free and they will not need to pay NICs on any of the payment
- The main rate of corporation tax will be cut again to 17% in 2020
- Class 2 NICs for self-employed people will be abolished from April 2018. From then, they will only need to pay one type of National Insurance on their profits, Class 4 NICs.
- The threshold for small business rate relief to increase from £6000 to £15000 from April 2017
- The government is committed to delivering 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020. An apprenticeship levy will be introduced in April 2017. From that date employers will receive a 10% top-up to their monthly levy contributions in England
- The government will launch a consultation in May 2016 on how to implement its commitment to extend Shared Parental Leave and Pay to working grandparents. The consultation will cover options for streamlining the system, including simplifying the eligibility requirements and notification system and how to make better use of digital technology
- The review into the representation of women in senior managerial roles in the financial services industry will launch its report on 22 March with recommendations on how to improve gender diversity
- The National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour comes into force on 1 April 2016. The government has asked the Low Pay Commission to set out how the new NLW will reach 60% of median earnings by 2020
- The government is concerned about the growth of salary sacrifice schemes and is considering limiting the range of benefits that attract tax and NICs advantages when they are provided as part of salary sacrifice schemes
- The Budget introduces an individual lifetime limit of £100,000 on gains eligible for Capital Gains Tax exemption through Employee Shareholder Status
The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016 increases the compensatory award for unfair dismissal to £78,962 and a week’s pay to £479 from 6 April 2016.
The minimum basic award for certain unfair dismissals (e.g. for trade union membership) increases to £5,853.
From 6 April 2016 the following NIC limits apply:
Upper earnings limit- £827 pw
Upper secondary threshold for under 21s - £827 pw
From 1 October 2016 the following NMW rates will apply:
Workers aged 21 to 24 - £6.95
Development rate (workers aged 18-20) - £5.55
Young workers rate - £4.00
Apprenticeship rate - £3.40
Trade Union Bill 2015-2016
Amendments have been made to the Trade Union Bill which is proceeding to the House of Lords but the Bill still remains contentious.
Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure)(Amendment) Regulations 2016
The ET (Amendment) Regulations 2016 amend the 2013 Regulations in relation to claims issued on or after 6 April 2016 to introduce rules in relation to the postponement of employment tribunal hearings and the use of costs orders where hearings are postponed following applications made at late notice.
An application for a postponement should be made as soon as possible after the need for a postponement becomes known. Any postponement application which has been made later or following two previous applications shall only be granted in specified circumstances.
A tribunal must consider whether to make a costs order where it has granted a postponement following a late application by one of the parties.
Financial penalties for unpaid tribunal awards
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Commencement No 4) Regulations 2016 bring into force certain provisions of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 from 6 April 2016. Among other provisions, the regulations introduce a scheme for penalising employers who fail to pay tribunal financial awards or settlement sums agreed under the terms of a settlement.
Guidance on surveillance
The surveillance camera commissioner has published guidance to assist organisations to comply with the Surveillance camera code of practice. The guidance comprises a self-assessment tool and a 2-step certification process which is delivered by bodies accredited by the UK Accreditation Service. The certification process is open to any organisation that operates surveillance cameras in a public space.
The guidance is primarily aimed at local authorities and councils but the commissioner encourages other organisations to comply.
Enterprise Bill factsheet
BIS has published an Enterprise Bill factsheet outlining the measures that will be included in the Enterprise Bill. These measures will establish a new body, the Institute for Apprenticeships, to support employer-led reforms and regulate the quality of apprenticeships.
European Commission presents EU-US Privacy Shield
The European Commission has issued the legal texts that will put in place the EU-US Privacy Shield and a communication summarising the actions taken over the last year to restore trust in transatlantic data flows since the 2013 surveillance revelations. The EU has (i) finalised the reform of EU Data protection rules, which apply to all companies providing services on the EU market, (ii) negotiated the EU-US Umbrella Agreement ensuring high data protection standards for data transfers across the Atlantic for law enforcement purposes and (iii) achieved a renewed sound framework for commercial data exchange: the EU-US Privacy Shield.
Current practice in employment and autism
The Business Disability Forum has announced the launch of a research report into current practice in employment and autism. The report examines current practice in the employment of people with autism and makes key recommendations for employers when adopting inclusive practice.
Regulation of recruitment agencies
BIS has published its response to consultation over reforming the regulatory framework for the recruitment sector and the proposal to prohibit EEA-only recruitment. The government will amend regulation 27A to ban employment agencies from recruiting solely from other EEA countries without advertising in Great Britain.
EHRC Guidance for advertisers and publishers
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a good practice checklist aimed at people involved in the creation, placement and publication of an advert. It includes a series of questions for advertisers and publishers to ensure that adverts for job opportunities, goods, services, facilities and accommodation do not discriminate.
Vicarious liability: connection between the relationship and the act
To establish vicarious liability in tort, there needs to be a relationship between the defendant and the wrongdoer and a connection between that relationship and the wrongdoer’s act or default, in order to make it just that the defendant should be held legally responsible to the victim for the consequences of the wrongdoer’s conduct. Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc is concerned with the second limb of the test
Ministry of Justice is vicariously liable for prisoner’s negligence
To establish vicarious liability in tort, there needs to be a relationship between the defendant and the wrongdoer and a connection between that relationship and the wrongdoer’s act or default, in order to make it just that the defendant should be held legally responsible to the victim for the consequences of the wrongdoer’s conduct. , Cox v MOJ, is concerned with the first requirement.
EAT holds suspension of childcare vouchers during maternity leave was not discriminatory
Employee’s commission award should have been higher
In Hills v Niksun Inc, Mr Hills was employed as Niksun’s regional sales manager in the UK. A High Court had found that he had been underpaid commission of around £6,700 in respect of the Asian and Pacific element of a sale of security software to the international businesses of Credit Suisse. Niksun had allocated 48% of the available commission on that deal to the UK office and the High Court thought it should have been two thirds.