March 2016 Employment Law Update


UPDATE: Annual Compensation limit increases

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2016 takes effect for dismissals and other relevant incidents occurring on or after 6 April 2016.

The changes are very modest with the cap on a weeks’ pay for statutory redundancy and other calculations increasing to £479 from £475.

In addition, the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal has been increased to £78,962 from £78,335.

National Minimum Wage

Don’t forget the NMW Amendment Regulations 2016 come into force on 1 April 2016. The National Living Wage premium of 50p per hour will be added to the NMW rate for workers over 25 years old, meaning their new minimum wage rate will be £7.20 per hour.

Restrictive Covenants: A reminder to be reasonable!

A company has recently had their application for an interim injunction rejected on the basis that the covenant they were seeking to enforce was an unreasonable restraint of trade.

The employee in this case worked as an agronomist and when he left his employment the company tried to enforce a restrictive covenant in his contract preventing him from having dealings with any of the Company’s customers for six months after the end of his employment. The clause applied regardless of whether the employee had dealt with the customers personally during his employment or not.

To uphold the application for an injunction to stop the employee breaching this clause the court had to be satisfied that the company had legitimate business interests to protect and that the clause was no wider than reasonably necessary to protect those specific interests. As the clause sought to apply to the company’s entire customer base, the court decided that the clause would be an unenforceable restraint of trade and consequently refused to grant the injunction.

This case is a reminder of the care that needs to be taken when drafting and including restrictions in employment contracts.

ACAS GUIDANCE: Apprentices

A new guide has been published by ACAS to help employers manage apprentices and young workers. The advice provided includes how to help young workers make the transition from education to the workplace, and summarises key points to consider when recruiting apprentices, such as details regarding training and the apprenticeship agreement.

The guide includes three tips for businesses to help them retain young workers:

If you are responsible for HR matters within your business (or interested in employment law discussion), please contact us to attend the monthly HR Network sessions run by Julie Taylor from GL and Michelle Bailey from People Essentials. The next Newbury meeting is on Monday 9 May at 5pm and the same time in Maidenhead on Monday 4 April 2016.


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