Major new anti-slavery law affecting global organisations doing business in the UK in force

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires commercial organisations with a turnover of £36 million and above and supplying goods or services to publicly report steps they have taken to ensure their operations and supply chains are trafficking and slavery free. The duty applies to organisations that carry on business in the UK, wherever they may be formed or incorporated.

The duty was implemented from 29 October 2015, subject to transitional provisions. Affected organisations with a year-end date before 31 March 2016 are not required to publish a statement for the 2015-16 financial year of the organisation. Those with a year-end of 31 March 2016 onwards are the first required to publish a statement for their 2015-16 financial year.

To comply, affected organisations are expected to report annually, for example, on policies, training, due diligence processes and the effectiveness of measures taken to combat modern slavery and trafficking. The annual disclosure must be signed and approved at the highest level in the organisation and made accessible on the homepage of the organisation’s website. For more information, including a roadmap on how to respond to the duty, read our briefing.

Court rules on absence management and disability discrimination

The Court of Appeal has ruled that an employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee is capable of applying to an attendance management policy where an employee’s disability leads to (or is likely to lead to) a level of absence which a non–disabled employee is unlikely to have. For further information, read our briefing.

The new National Living Wage – what it means for employers

On 1 April 2016, the national minimum wage rate will be increased significantly for workers aged 25 and over, with the introduction of what the Government is calling the ‘National Living Wage’. The new rate will initially be set at £7.20 per hour but further rises are on the cards over the next four years. For further information on what the changes mean for employers, read our briefing.

Significant pensions change affecting higher earners

From 6 April 2016, the pensions annual allowance will be reduced for many individuals with taxable income (which includes employer and employee pension contributions) of over £150,000 per year. For individuals with taxable income in excess of £210,000 per year the pensions annual allowance could be reduced to as low as £10,000.

The tapered annual allowance is likely to affect senior people within organisations and it is also likely to lead to a number of queries from employees. Therefore, in most cases employers will need to assess which of their staff may be affected, decide their approach and communicate with their staff. For further information, read our briefing.