Other developments in 2016: best of the rest
Gender pay gap reporting
The government has since the developmental stages of the Equality Act 2010, been threatening to introduce mandatory gender pay gap reporting for private businesses with more than 250 employees. The aim is to encourage reduction in the differential existing in the average pay as between men and women. There may be further developments in this area in 2016. For further information, click here.
The government has announced that it intends to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents by 2018. It will consult on this proposal during 2016. The current shared parental leave system allows parents to effectively convert unused maternity leave and pay into shared parental leave and pay and to split it between them, subject to notification requirements and limits on the extent of the fragmentation of the leave, but with job security preserved. The government said in its announcement of this proposal in October 2015 that it:
“recognises that the crucial role that working grandparents play in providing childcare and supporting working families. Evidence suggests that nearly 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or have taken time off work to help families who cannot afford childcare costs.”
To view the announcement, click here.
Enforcement of Tribunal Awards
Section 150 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (SBEEA 2015) inserts a new Part 2 into the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (ETA 1996) to allow financial penalties to be imposed on employers who do not pay employment tribunal awards or sums due under a COT3 settlement agreement. This provision is expected to come into force in April 2016.
In summary the process of enforcement and penalty application will include the following:
- The employer will be issued with a warning notice by an enforcement officer stating that a financial penalty will be imposed unless the "relevant sum" is paid by a specified date (which is no less than 28 days from the date of the notice).
- If the employer fails to pay the relevant sum in full before the date specified in the warning notice, the enforcement officer may issue a penalty notice requiring the employer to pay a financial penalty to the Secretary of State by a specified date (which is no less than 28 days from the date of the notice). The penalty will be 50% of the unpaid relevant sum, subject to a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5,000. Penalties will ultimately be paid into the Consolidated Fund (the government's general bank account in the Bank of England).
- If, within 14 days of the penalty notice, the employer pays both the unpaid relevant sum owed to the claimant and the penalty, the amount of the penalty will be reduced by 50%.
- The employer has 28 days from the date of the penalty notice to appeal to an employment tribunal against the imposition of the penalty notice or the amount of the penalty. The appeal grounds are limited.
Tax free childcare scheme
The government plans to remove the current system of childcare vouchers and introduce a new tax-free childcare scheme under which working families will be able to claim 20% of qualifying childcare costs for children under five (and children with disabilities under 17). The scheme is expected to be implemented in 2017.
For further information on the issues raised in this article, please contact us on 020 7925 8080 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.