1 Changes following Brexit? Laws introduced through EU membership will continue in force unless the government repeals them. Possible candidates for change include the Agency Workers Regulations and collective consultation obligations in redundancy situations. But for the most part UK employment law is unlikely to be affected.
2 An increase in claims? In the week of the referendum vote, the Justice Committee quietly recommended that Tribunal fees be reduced to remove barriers to justice for workers. It may take time for this to be enacted in the current political climate, but employers could be facing increased claims in future.
3 Modern slavery. All organisations operating in the UK must make a modern slavery statement setting out how they have ensured that human trafficking has not taken place within their business or any of their supply chains for each financial year in which they have a total turnover of £36m or more.
4 Gender pay gap. From April, 2017, all organisations with 250 or more employees will be under a duty to analyse pay information and publish reports setting out differences in pay and bonuses for male and female employees. The reports will be due on an annual basis covering the preceding 12 months, with the first reports being due in April, 2018.
5 Apprenticeship Levy. This will be introduced with effect from April 2017 and will be payable at the rate of 0.5% of an organisations total gross pay bill with an annual allowance of £15,000. This means that the levy will become payable on a gross pay bill in excess of £3m. Employers will receive reimbursement equal to 10% of their monthly apprenticeship levy to spend on apprenticeship training.
6 £30,000 tax-free allowance for compensation payments. After much debate, it has been confirmed that this tax-free allowance will continue. Any compensation paid above the £30,000 allowance will be subject to income tax and from April, 2018, will also be subject to employer’s national insurance contributions.
7 Tax treatment of notice pay. The practice of employers making a payment in lieu of notice as a tax-free sweetener for departing employees will soon become a thing of the past. From April, 2018, the rules on tax treatment of a payment in lieu of notice will be much stricter and such payments will be taxable in most cases. Employers should always seek advice on the correct tax treatment of a payment in lieu of notice.
8 Prohibition of restrictive covenants? The government’s consultation on the use of restrictive covenants has now closed and we await their findings. The call for evidence indicated that the government is concerned that restrictive covenants may stifle entrepreneurial activity. However, commentators report there is little evidence of this.
9 Grandparent leave? Government consultation over whether statutory leave and pay for parents should be extended to working grandparents was postponed until after the referendum, but could see wider family leave provisions introduced.