5 things all small businesses should know for 2016

Welcome to the February Bedrock HR newsletter. We know that changes to legislation can be concerning and confusing, especially when it’s about your staff. We’re here to help you keep ahead of the game, so read on for our quick tips to staying on the right side of Employment Law this year.

  1. Zero hours contracts, employees can bring claims of unfair dismissal: from 11 January 2016

You should be aware that employers are not allowed to ban employees on zero hour contracts from taking on other work elsewhere. In January this year employees gained the right to bring an employment claim if they can show they have been dismissed or penalised for taking additional work elsewhere. Zero hours contracts can be a vital tool in helping smaller business take on fluctuating demand, but it’s important to know what you can and cannot do with employees on these types of contracts.

  1. Auto-enrolment for Pensions : staging dates throughout 2016

This year will see the majority of small businesses start auto-enrolment, and employers themselves are responsible for complying. Find out your ‘staging-date’ here.

If you’re struggling for time, there is an option to delay enrolment by 3 months, but you’ll need to let the regulator know.

We recommend allowing at least 6 months to prepare. As well as changing your payroll processes, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right Pension scheme for your business and understand how contributions level will affect your employees. Remember that you are required by law to inform your staff about their Pension rights, but we think that this is also a great opportunity to sell the employee-benefits of working for you!

  1. National Living Wage: comes into effect on 6 April 2016

From 6 April this year, all employees over 25 will have the right to be paid £7.20 an hour when the ‘National Living Wage’ becomes law. Non-compliance could leave you with criminal charge.

  • Know who is eligible in your business. Talk to us here at Bedrock HR if you’re unsure of anyone’s employment status, or need to check any extras that could affect their eligibility for the increase
  • Take the appropriate payroll action
  • Let your staff know about their new pay-rate. We can provide communication templates to help you with this
  • Check that your employees under 25 are earning the right rate of the National Minimum Wage
  1. Immigration Bill, penalties for employing illegal workers: October 2016 

If you are employing workers from overseas it is vital that you confirm that they have the right to work in the UK. From October this year the law is being tightened and so it will not be an excuse if an employer has not checked documents, or has misunderstood the legislation.

  1. Freeze of statutory paternity, maternity, adoption and sick pay: April 2016

This normally increases every April in line with Consumer Price Index (CPI) but this year there will be no increase.The weekly rate will remain at £139.58, or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate.

If you would like advice on any of the topics covered here, or indeed anything else that’s on your mind for your business this year, then get in contact with us and we would be happy to help.

Bedrock HR team.