What does the Queen’s Speech mean for Employment Law?
Moving to a higher wage and rewarding workers
We have already seen the introduction of a National Living Wage effective from 1 April 2016. Those who are 25 and over can expect to receive no less than £7.20 an hour. It is proposed by 2020 that this will go up to £9.00 per hour.
The current rates for those under 25 currently remain the same, with an increase looking to take effect in October 2016. There will be an increase in penalties from 100 per cent to 200 per cent of the arrears for non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. The maximum penalty will be increased to £20,000 per worker. Furthermore, from 1 October 2016 employers with more than 250 workers will have to publish information relating to the pay of employees in order to highlight any differences in payments between men and women.
Encouraging more jobs and more apprenticeships through new legislation
The government are to introduce in April 2017 a levy, at a rate 0.5 percent of an employer’s pay bill on large employers which they intend will reverse the decline in the number of apprenticeships. All employers will receive an annual allowance of £15,000 against the levy - in effect making the levy only payable where the pay bill exceeds 3 million. The levy will be able to be spent on training for apprentices over 16 to suit their particular needs. Funding will therefore be in the control of the employers.
Membership of the European Union
Many changes to European Law, including in particular the new General Data Protection Regulation, will be dependent on the outcome of the June referendum. The General Data Protection Regulation contains more stringent requirements on obtaining consent from individuals to processing of their personal data, as well as a tougher penalty regime.