Frontline: UK Employment Law Update - October 2016

By Ian Hunter, Pattie Walsh, Elizabeth Lang, James Froud, Warren Wayne


Welcome to the October edition of Frontline. This month, Frances Vickery considers the possible implications of poorly applied sales incentive and commission plans and provides practical tips for successful implementation to increase revenue and employee engagement.

Reasonable adjustments, TUPE transfers, ACAS Early Conciliation and handling claims of harassment are the subject of our case reviews.

We also bring you an update on the latest legal developments, our recent press articles and you can also find out about our upcoming events.

Selling your Sales Plan

As we approach the start of 2017, many businesses will be planning their sales incentive plans or commission plans for next year.

When the objectives of such plans have been clearly thought through, they can play a constructive part in driving business growth and can also be an extremely effective tool in motivating a sales team and ensuring they are aligned to the wider goals of your business.

Read more >

Legal Update

Tax-free Childcare Scheme expected to launch early 2017
A new Tax-Free Childcare Scheme will be phased in early next year replacing the Employer Supported Childcare Scheme. It will offer working families up to 20% of their yearly qualifying childcare costs. 

Implementation date for a ban on "corporate" directors is delayed

The ban on "corporate" directors (under the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015) was expected to come into force this month but has been delayed with no implementation date given. Companies House has updated its website to say- "You won’t be able to appoint corporate directors, although there are some limited exceptions. The detail of these exceptions are still under development. Any further information including a date for implementation will be provided on GOV.UK as soon as it’s available."

Minimum wage increased

From 1 October 2016, the National Minimum wage has increased:

  • To £6.95 (from £6.70) for workers aged 21 to 24;
  • To £5.55 (from £5.30) for workers aged 18 to 20;
  • To £4.00 (from £3.87) for workers under 18; and
  • To £3.40 (from £3.30) for apprentices aged under 19, or aged over 19 but in the first year of their apprenticeship.

There is no change to the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour, which applies to workers aged 25 and over. The National Living Wage will next be reviewed in April 2017. 

Gender Pay Gap Information delayed

The publication of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016 has been delayed. It is currently unclear whether the first “relevant date” under the Regulations will remain as 30 April 2017. If there is no change, the first gender pay gap reports will be due in April 2018.

New judicial assessment procedure in employment tribunals

On 3 October 2016, guidance was issued in relation to a new procedure for judicial assessment in the employment tribunal. Parties will now be offered the chance to have their case assessed by an employment judge at the first case management hearing once the issues have been formally identified. It is hoped that an initial impartial and confidential assessment of the case may encourage the parties to enter into settlement negotiations. If a settlement is not reached, the assessment will not be referred to in later stages of litigation and the judge who conducted the assessment will not be involved in the final hearing.

Case Summary 

Disabled employee entitled to the same salary when moved to a lesser role.  

G4S Cash Solutions (UK) Ltd v Powell UKEAT/0243/15/RN

This case confirmed that an employer's duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee can be extended to continuing to pay a higher salary when the employee is moved to a lesser role.

Read more >

Is the client the same? An important consideration for TUPE transfers.

CT Plus (Yorkshire) CIC v Black & Ors UKEAT/0035/16/DM

This case highlights the need for continuity of "the client" to trigger a TUPE transfer in the context of a change in service provider.

Read more >

Warning that employees may bring claims in respect of events arising after ACAS Early Conciliation certificate is issued.

Compass Group UK & Ireland Ltd v Morgan UKEAT/0060/16

This case confirms that an employee who resigns after the ACAS early conciliation certificate is issued can validly bring a complaint of unfair dismissal as long as the resignation is connected to the events which first prompted the employee to contact ACAS.

Read more >

Helpful decision for employers handling discrimination and harassment grievances

Unite the Union v Nailard UKEAT/0300/15/BA

The ET was wrong to examine the conduct of the perpetrators, not the decision making process of the employer, when assessing a claim for harassment and direct discrimination by its paid officers.

Read more >

In the Press

Zero Hour Contracts

Legal Director, Penny Hunt and Associate, Furat Ashraf spoke to Lawyer 2B about the increase of zero hours contracts.

Read the full article >


HR Professionals Seminars 

On 17 November 2016 we will be hosting a seminar for HR professionals on the key legal challenges on the horizon with a focus on how HR can take a strategic role in their business' future. Topics will include Brexit, gender pay gap and modern slavery reporting and protecting business secrets. The event is being held in partnership with the In-House Recruitment Network.

More information >

Beyond the United Kingdom


On October 10 Catarina Rucci, a Partner in our Milan office, lectured on " The applicable law " at the Employment specialisation school, which has been created by AGI, the Italian employment lawyers' association ( avvocati giuslavoristi italiani ).


From November onwards Alexandra Stocki and Benjamine Fiedler, Partners based in Paris, will be hosting monthly client events with guest appearances from University Professors on new employment law. The first event will take place on November 21 and will address the question of the changes in the rules governing collective bargaining.

Register for the event >

HR Excellence Awards

Our Brussels employment team has been nominated as the '2016 Best Social and Employment Law Firm in Belgium' by the HR Excellence Awards. The nomination came from a survey involving 1,500 HR managers and 1,000 business managers. The results will be announced at an awards ceremony on 17 November 2016. 

Vote for Bird & Bird in either French or Dutch >

See also:

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