We have summarised the most recent employment law changes and up and coming changes, including dates to have in mind, for you below.
1. National Minimum Wage and sleep-in shifts: In the case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake, the Supreme Court has ruled that sleep-in workers are only eligible for National Minimum Wage for the hours they are actually working and not for the entirety of their shift. For more information on this, you can read our blog here.
2. National Minimum Wage: National Minimum Wage will increase from 1 April 2021 to £8.91 per hour, to include workers aged 23 and over for the first time (currently this applies to those 25 and over). The rates from 1 April 2021 will be as follows:
£8.91 per hour for 23 years old and over (previously 25 and over)
£8.36 per hour for 21 to 22 year olds
£6.56 per hour for 18 to 20 year olds
£4.62 per hour for 16 and 17 year olds
£4.30 per hour for apprentices.
3. Health and safety: The government has published the draft Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021. This will give workers the right not to be subjected to any detriment for leaving, proposing to leave, or refusing to return to their workplace because they reasonably believe it would put themselves or others in serious or imminent danger, or for taking (or proposing to take) steps to protect themselves. This amendment extends the rights under section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to workers.
4. Furlough: Furlough was due to end on 30 April 2021 but has now been extended to 30 September 2021. The government will continue to pay 80% of employee’s salaries (up to the cap of £2,500) until the end of June 2021. This will go down to 70% in July and 60% in August and September. Employers will therefore be required to contribute 10% in July, increasing to 20% in August and September. Employers will also continue to have to pay all National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions for all furloughed hours.
5. Shielding: From 1 April 2021, those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer be advised to shield. They will therefore also no longer be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) based on being advised to shield. They are, however, being advised that they should continue to work from home where possible but if they cannot work from home, they are being advised to go to work. Employers are required to take steps to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.
6. Statutory payments: From 4 April 2021 Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay will increase from £151.20 to £151.97 per week and Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £95.85 to £96.35 per week.
7. Gender pay gap reporting: employers with 250 or more employees on the relevant snapshot date must report their gender pay gap data for 2020/2021.
Private employers must report and publish their gender pay gap information and written statement, based on a snapshot date of 5 April 2020, by 4 April 2021. However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has confirmed that it will give employers a six-month grace period and will not begin enforcement action against them until 5 October 2021. From 5 October 2021, enforcement action will be taken against employers (public, private and voluntary) who fail to report their gender pay gap information for the 2020/21 year starts. You can read the guidance here.
8. A weeks’ pay calculation: the maximum amount of one week’s pay (this is used to calculate statutory redundancy payments) will increase from £538 per week to £544 per week. This will be particularly relevant to employers making redundancies on or after 6 April 2021.
9. Unfair Dismissal payments: the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £88,519 to £89,493 where the effective date of termination is on or after 6 April 2021. The maximum is currently the lesser of 52 weeks’ pay and the statutory cap (as set out above).
10. IR35- Off payroll working will be extended to large and medium sized private sector employers from 6 April 2021. This means that whereas before it was the contractor who determined whether they were employed or self-employed, and any liability for underpayment sat with the contractor, that liability now sits with deemed employee who is generally the fee payer. The client will have to decide on the contractor’s tax status (status determination) and the fee payer will be liable for any underpayment. If the fee payer fails to pay tax due under IR35, liability could ultimately transfer back up the supply chain to the client.
There is a lot to keep up to date with so just get in touch with our Employment Solicitors and HR Consultants to navigate through it!