Over the last few months there have been a number of changes and updates in the world of employment law, and some important tribunal decisions have been made. There are always a raft of changes in April, and in order to keep you up-to-date, we’ve summarised these below.


Upcoming Changes:

Introduction of the Living Wage

From 1 April 2016, the Government will introduce the Living Wage. This will add a premium to the minimum wage, increasing the legal minimum wage for any employee over 25 to £7.20 per hour.

Compensation Limit Increases

From 6 April 2016, the maximum limit for a weeks’ pay will increase from £475 to £479. This is used to calculate both statutory redundancy pay and the basic award element of compensation for unfair dismissal. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will also increase from 6 April, increasing from £78,335 to £78,962 (or 52 weeks’ pay, whichever is lower). Small changes, but not ones to overlook.

Other Rates

Unusually, there will be no increase to the statutory maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental pay rates, or to statutory sick pay.

Modern Slavery Act

Introduced last October, this Act will require organisations with a turnover of over £36 million worldwide to prepare a modern slavery statement each financial year. This statement must set out what steps the organisation is taking to ensure modern slavery isn’t occurring in their business or their supply chain. The statement should be prepared after the financial year end, and applies to organisations with a financial year end of 31 March 2016 onwards. We’ll be sending out further information soon, so keep your eyes peeled for an article explaining exactly what is required.


Recent Developments:

Employer Liable for Employees’ Actions

It has long been the case that an employer can be held liable for the actions of their employees. However, a recent court decision has highlighted just how far this liability can stretch after an employer was found to be liable for the violent assault of one of its customers by a member of its staff. To avoid a potentially costly claim, employers should ensure staff are appropriately trained and expectations of behaviour are clear.

Holiday Pay update

The appeals we mentioned in our last update have now been decided (see our recent article). Commission and overtime can both form part of an employee’s statutory holiday pay, provided it’s part of their normal pay. Unfortunately, the decisions did not explain exactly how holiday pay should be calculated in these situations. There are set to be further appeals in the future, so watch this space!

Long Term Lay-off

Typically used in manufacturing sectors, lay-off refers to a temporary situation where employees are provided with no work and no pay, but remain employees of the business. It is usually used as an alternative to redundancy to deal with a sudden downturn in workload or unforeseen circumstances. Importantly, an employee can only be laid off where the right to do so is expressly included in their contract of employment.

Lay-off is a temporary solution and helpfully, a recent case has held that there is no need for the length of time which the employee is laid off to be “reasonable”. Where the contract of employment allows for an indefinite period of lay-off, this can be enforced, even if an employee is laid off for a long period of time.

No Change to Sunday Trading Laws

In what promised to be one of the biggest trading law shake-ups in recent years, the Government had planned to overhaul the Sunday Trading Laws, relaxing the existing restrictions. However, these plans have now been dropped following a vote in the House of Commons which rejected the changes.


For more information on any of the changes above, please contact a member of the Employmentor team 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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