As the year end approaches, we have listed the employment law changes that we’ll see in 2016:
- April 1 A compulsory minimum wage premium for all staff over 25 years of age comes into force referred to as the ‘national living wage. Employees who work for 2 or more hours a day for 8 or more consecutive weeks must be paid at least £7.20.
- April 1 Those earning over £100,000 GBP in the public sector will not be keep exit packages if returning to the area in the public sector within 12 months.
- April 6 Skilled migrant workers need to earn at least £35,000.
- April 6 Employer national insurance contributions for under 25 are abolished up to the upper earnings limit (£815).
- April 6 Income tax personal allowance increases from £10,600 to £11,000. The threshold for higher rate tax pay rate rises from £42,385 to £43,000.
- April 6 The ability to contract out of the state second pension ends.
- At some point: All employers with over 250 employees (not just those in the public sector) will have to carry out an equal pay review and publish their gender pay gap. The details are still being worked out.
- To be confirmed: Caste to be added as a form of discrimination
We have just settled a whistleblowing case for a hard-working care manager who complained about her working hours and inadequate training at her workplace.
The employer denied that she had made any complaints (so it fell to a question of her word against theirs) and denied that they had dismissed her because of them, claiming that it dismissed her because of poor performance and redundancy (despite there not being much evidence of this).
She couldn’t bring an unfair dismissal case, because she didn’t have the two years’ service you need to do this.
The case settled on the day before the hearing for about 75% of what she was seeking. We advised that though she had a strong case, no case is 100% certain and we negotiated the employer up to £9,000 from a first offer of only £3,000 at the start of the case.
She would have received more compensation, but she had managed to minimise her losses by replacing her income well. Had she not done this, she might have been criticised by a tribunal.
This was a case that we handled on a no-win, no-fee basis so the risk was on us, since she didn’t have the money to fund the case herself.Read More
A teacher has won over £100k and lost much of it in an employment tribunal claim and held onto it on appeal.
After several years of unimpeachable service and good results, a new manager, that she described as vindictive, came along and took a dislike to her. The manager said that the teacher’s teaching was poor, when there was no evidence for this.
She resigned, agreeing terms, which included a payoff and a good reference.
But the head-teacher only gave a basic reference, which the teacher said was discriminatory.
She claimed unfair constructive dismissal and age discrimination, on the grounds that the allegations were trumped-up because she was expensive (being more experienced than younger colleagues).
Faced with a £108,000 payout, the employer appealed on a number of grounds, including that the employment tribunal was wrong to give her the benefit of the doubt in her claim that the academy had a practice of selecting the most expensive teachers to dismiss. Having such a practice would be indirectly discriminatory on the ground of age.
There are employment tribunal rules that give the benefit of the doubt to employees bringing discrimination claims, because employers who discriminate will never confess to it and rarely keep records of wrongdoing.
She lost out on the discrimination claim because the tribunal made a mistake of law – it gave her the benefit of the doubt on the question of whether the academy had adopted a practice of getting rid of the most experienced teachers. The employment appeal tribunal said that this was something that an employee needs to prove. Once she does this, then the tribunal will presume (unless the employer can show otherwise) that the decision was taken on the ground of age.
She held onto victory, though only for unfair discrimination, which carries a cap of a year’s salary, which for her would be between £40k and £50k plus a ‘basic award’ based on her length of service. We estimate that her compensation would have been slashed by at least a quarter because of this decision.
This case goes to show that the laws on discrimination are complicated and that even tribunals can get the details wrong.
Case report: Dippenaar v Bethnal Green Academy.Read More