Hello April

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As always, this time of year brings with it changes that employers need to know about. Here are some:

National Living Wage
The big one is the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW) from 1 April 2016. It entitles workers aged 25 and over to a minimum wage of £7.20 per hour. That’s 50p more than the existing National Minimum Wage (NMW), which will continue to apply to under-25s.

Take note of these rates. Strict penalties apply where employers haven’t paid the amounts they should have. Expect a fine of 200% of the underpayment of the NLW or NMW (reduced if you pay up quickly), up to a maximum of £20,000 per worker. There’s also the possibility of director disqualification.

No Class 1 NICS for apprentices…
… under the age of 25, on a statutory apprenticeship and who are earning less than £827 per week (£43,000 a year). From 6 April, employer’s National Insurance contributions will not be payable in respect of these apprentices. It’s part of the Government’s push to create more opportunities for people to access high quality apprenticeships, and to support youth employment.

Rates rise
From 6 April:

– a week’s pay, used to calculate unfair dismissal basic awards and statutory redundancy payments, rises from £475 to £479
– the unfair dismissal maximum award also goes up to £78,962 (previously £78,335).

But there’s no change to maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave, and sick pay limits.

Penalties for non-payment
If you don’t pay up following a tribunal award against you, you could find yourself having to pay the government another 50% of the unpaid amount, up to a maximum of £5,000. The same applies to non-payment of settlement sums agreed via Acas.