Taxation of termination payments

There have been a number of recent changes to the rules on the taxation of termination payments, most notably relating to payments in lieu of notice (PILONs). It was also planned that any termination payment in excess of £30,000 would be subject to employer NICs from April 2018, but this change was delayed to April 2019. The autumn budget made clear that this change will be further delayed and will now only apply to a termination payment made on or after 6 April 2020. This means that, until this date, the additional NICs cost to employers of making a termination payment under a settlement agreement will be avoided. The existing employee NICs exemption will remain in place however.

For further information, see

National Living Wage came into force on 1 April 2016

The new rate of £7.20 per hour applies to workers aged 25 and over. Employers should check they are complying with the new law, as it is a criminal offence not to pay someone the NMW or the NLW. Employers who offer salary sacrifice to support employee benefits should take particular care to ensure that the sacrifice does not result in a salary that is below the appropriate minimum rate.

7 March 2016 - the new FCA and PRA regime comes into force

The new Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority regime, that applies to individuals working for UK banks, building societies, credit unions and PRA-designated investment firms, and branches of foreign banks operating in the UK, came into force today, 7 March 2016.

Employment Appeal Tribunal confirms holiday pay must include commission

Lock v British Gas focussed on whether holiday pay should include sales-related commission, but also the interaction of EU and UK law. Mr Lock was paid basic salary and results-based commission, but only basic salary during periods of annual leave. He brought a claim and the Employment Tribunal held that his holiday pay should include commission (because it is necessary to add words to the Working Time Regulations 1998 to give effect to the Working Time Directive, so that commission and similar payments are included in holiday pay). British Gas appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The EAT dismissed the appeal yesterday (22 February 2016). It held that holiday pay should include commission and that it's necessary to imply words into the Working Time Regulations 1998 to comply with EU law. See also Bear Scotland & Others v Fulton & Others. These cases are particularly relevant for any employers whose workers' pay includes commission, bonuses and overtime payments. 

Dyslexia and reasonable adjustments

A woman with dyslexia has recently won a disability discrimination claim against Starbucks, who the tribunal found discriminated against her and failed to make reasonable adjustments. It's a useful reminder to employers about their legal obligations to disabled employees, including the importance of understanding the effects that an employee's disability may have and what adjustments should be made to ensure that the employee is not put at a disadvantage. Any employers that are unclear about their obligations should seek advice from an employment lawyer. In the case of dyslexia, there's useful guidance on the British Dyslexia Association website 

Smart working: The quiet revolution

Worth a read for senior managers across all sectors looking for insights and support in implementing smart working practices, which BSI describes as harnessing the benefits of flexible working in a strategic way, and thereby delivering benefits for employers and employees.

The benefits of employee ownership

Some useful insights from Postlethwaite about the benefits of employee ownership, including the fact that employee owned businesses grew sales by 11.1% during the recession as compared to just 0.6% for non-employee owned businesses. Something for senior management to consider during turbulent economic times.

Organisational culture and equality

Interesting interview with the new head of the 30% Club, Brenda Trenowden, who argues that companies need to be "gender aware" rather than "gender blind", that the focus needs to shift to developing a strong pipeline rather than focussing primarily on board level appointments and that agile working by both men and women is the way forward.