Hot on the heels of the Spring Budget, Chancellor George Osborne last week set out the Government’s financial plans. There were some significant announcements for employers in respect of employment law, and these should be taken into consideration when calculating budgets over the next couple of years.
Possibly the most significant announcement was the introduction of a new National Living Wage for all workers aged 25 and over. This will effectively add another layer to the current bandings of national minimum wage. The National Living Wage will start at £7.20 per hour from April 2016 and is set to reach £9 an hour by 2020.
Further cost will be borne by large employers with a compulsory contribution by way of apprenticeship levy which will be used to fund 3 million more apprenticeships by 2020. There are no details yet on how much will need be paid, or who exactly the levy will apply to, but the pot will go towards digital apprenticeship vouchers with which employers can purchase training.
A relaxation of the Sunday trading laws was also discussed, but no firm decisions have yet been made. A consultation exercise will take place with the probable outcome that the control over how many hours large shops can open on a Sunday will be given to local councils and mayors. A change could mean extra recruitment for shop owners, or a change to terms and conditions for existing staff to cover the extended opening hours.
It was also announced that public sector pay would increase by 1% each year for the next four years.