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INSIGHT: Round-up of employment law changes for employers, April 2016

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Several key changes to employment law come into force during April 2016. Here are some highlights.

 

The introduction of the National Living Wage (from 1 April 2016)

Those over 25 will be entitled to the National Living Wage of £7.20 – effectively a "topped up" version of the minimum wage. Employers who do not pay it will be subject to increased penalties. 

See our post of 4 April 2016 for more information.  

 

Financial penalties for unpaid tribunal awards and settlements (from 6 April 2016)

Have you got an employment tribunal coming up? 

From April 2016*, employers could be subject to financial penalties if they do not pay up on a tribunal award. The financial penalties will also apply to employers who fail to make payment on settlements they have agreed under COT3 settlement forms.

(*Pursuant to section 150 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 as brought into effect by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Commencement No 4) Regulations 2016 (SI2016/321).)

 

New tribunal postponement rules effective (from 6 April 2016)

New rules have been introduced in employment tribunals to counter perceived difficulties with difficult parties who seek lots of postponements of the tribunal hearing.

The Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, which came into force on 6 April 2016, provide that:

  • parties should apply for a postponement as soon as possible after it becomes clear that a postponement is needed – and tell the other parties;
  • where a tribunal hearing has been postponed twice already or where an application to postpone has been made within 7 days of the hearing date or at the hearing itself, a postponement will only be made where:
    • all parties agree (and it is appropriate); or
    • the postponement is needed because of the another party’s act or omission; or
    • in exceptional circumstances;
  • tribunals will be required to consider whether a costs award should be made where late applications are made (i.e. within 7 days of the hearing). There will however be no requirement to actually make a costs award.

For more background, see the Department for Business Innovation & Skills response to the consultation on amendments to employment tribunal postponement procedures

 

Increases in tribunal compensation limits (from 6 April 2016)

Those pursuing claims arising out of their employment, for example following dismissal, should note that the compensation levels rose slightly with effect from 6 April 2016 following the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016.

  • The rates for a week’s pay will rise to £479 (from £475).
  • The maximum compensatory award will rise to £78,962 (from £78,335).

 

For more information on any of the above changes, please contact contact Susan Mayall on 0161 684 6948 or email susan.mayall@pearsonlegal.co.uk.

 

Also in this issue of Insight

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.