As you may or may not be aware, each year in April the Government introduces new legislation in respect of employment rights and responsibilities. Below is a summary of the key changes being implemented this month.
National Living Wage
From 1st April 2016, workers aged 25 and over are entitled to the ‘national living wage’ rate of £7.20 per hour – this is essentially a new ‘top rate’ of the national minimum wage.
NOTE FOR EMPLOYERS:
– The new rate is applicable from the first pay reference period commencing on or after 1st April 2016.
– Please ensure you check that employees’ pay is not brought below the new rate by any form of salary-sacrifice scheme.
Penalties for non-payment of the national minimum wage doubled
This has also taken effect from 1st April 2016 and the same enforcement provisions apply for failure to pay the national living wage. Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/measures-to-ensure-people-receive-fair-pay-announced.
Employer NICs and Apprentices
You may have noticed the Government’s recent campaign to entice employers to provide more apprenticeships – in their latest drive they have decided to abolish National Insurance Contributions for apprentices aged under 25. These changes have been introduced with effect from 6th April 2016 and it is hoped they will incentivise employers to offer more apprenticeships going forwards.
Statutory family-related pay and sick pay
Employers will be surprised to note that there will be no increase to statutory adoption, maternity, paternity or shared parental pay rates this year, and statutory sick pay is similarly unchanged. Details of the current applicable rates can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statutory-pay.
However new limits for statutory redundancy pay and employment tribunal awards have been introduced from 6th April 2016, and are as follows: