As New Year’s resolutions are made (and broken), and everyone looks forward to the year ahead, employment lawyers contemplate a busy year with a number of key employment law changes scheduled. This update provides an overview of upcoming shifts in the employment sphere, which may impact employers and employees alike in the coming months.

Zero Hours Contracts

As of today, 11 January 2016, the Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 will come into force.  Whilst exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts were prohibited in 2015, the Regulations provide a further layer of protection for zero hours workers by giving a remedy against employers who subject the worker to a detriment, or dismiss them, for breaching any such (unlawful) exclusivity clause.

Holiday pay

Our November 2015 update discussed the current (and vague) position of what is and what isn’t included in the calculation of holiday pay. It is anticipated that the seminal case of Lock v British Gas Trading Limited will provide a greater insight into how to approach commission payments when calculating holiday, as well as whether or not bonuses should be taken into account when calculating holiday pay (currently they are not). The EAT heard this case last month, however, judgment has not been delivered.  Stay tuned for further news!

Reporting gender pay gaps

By 26 March 2016 the government must introduce legislation to compel private sector employers with 250 or more employees to publish information about the differences in pay between men and women, including the disparity in their bonus payments. At this stage, little information is known as to what precisely employers must provide, or where the information is to be published, but we will of course keep you updated.

The National Living Wage

The National Living Wage spells good news for employees but potentially damaging news for the small business. Due to come into force on 1 April 2016, the National Living Wage adds a premium onto the existing National Minimum Wage for all workers aged 25, entitling them to an increased hourly rate of £7.20.  Businesses should (if they have not done so already) consider the impact this will have and any strategies they may need to implement to deal with any resulting increased cost pressures. Speak to one of the employmentor team if you would like assistance in this process.

Statutory parental pay and sick pay

There will be no annual increase to the weekly rates of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, and statutory sick pay in 2016. Rates will therefore remain at £139.58 per week for maternity (after the initial 6 weeks) and paternity pay, and £88.45 for sick pay.


Employers and organisations will be banned from describing an arrangement as an ‘apprenticeship’ when used to describe a scheme that is not a statutory apprenticeship.

Tribunal Fees

The Justice Committee is conducting an inquiry into the effects of changes to court and tribunal fees including, in particular, the introduction of employment tribunal fees. MPs have fervently backed this inquiry by calling for a review of tribunal fees to allow access to justice to employees. The outcome of such a review may, once again, have a huge impact on the level of tribunal claims faced by employers.

Grandparental Leave

Consultation will begin in the early half of 2016 in relation to the introduction of so-called “grandparental leave”, which would allow grandparents to take statutory leave to care for their grandchildren. However, this is not likely to come into force until 2018.

As ever, if you have any HR or employment law concerns, contact the employmentor team for advice on 01603 281139.

Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any particular circumstance.





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