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Changes to Employment Law in April 2016

The New National Living Wage

The Government's new National Living Wage will be introduced from 1 April 2016 for all working people aged 25 and over, and Employers will be required to pay workers in this category a minimum of £7.20 per hour. For wokers under the age of 25, the current National Minimum Wage will continue to apply.

Scotland Bill 2016 receives Royal Assent

The Scotland Bill 2016 received Royal Assent on 23 March 2016.

Section 39 of the Scotland Act 2016 provides for the devolution of the Scottish employment tribunals. The consultation on the draft Order, setting out the framework for the Scottish employment tribunals to be moved within the First-tier Tribunal in Scotland, and defining what claims will come within their jurisdiction, closed on 24 March 2016.

Of particular interest to employers is Article 9 of the draft Order which provides for the Scottish Parliament to have legislative competence to dictate the rules of procedure for the employment tribunals in Scotland, under powers already provided in the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014.  The Scottish Parliament would have the power to set fee levels for its employment tribunals, or indeed, abolish fees altogether, as it has stated it intends to do.

SBEEA 2015: financial penalties for unpaid employment tribunal awards and settlements provisions in force from 6 April 2016

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (Commencement No 4) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/321) were made on 9 March 2016. The regulations bring section 150 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 into force on 6 April 2016. Section 150 inserts a new Part 2A into the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 to introduce a new scheme for penalising employers who fail to pay tribunal awards or settlement sums under a COT3.

Limits on tribunal awards and statutory payments to increase from April 2016

Tribunal compensation limits will increase on 6 April 2016 under the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016 (SI 2016/288). The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,335 to £78,962. The maximum amount of a week's pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £475 to £479.

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