The arrival of Spring always heralds change for employers with 6 April being one of the government's two annual 'common commencement dates' for new legislation. We take a look at the key changes in employment law in store from this April.

National Living Wage

The 1 April 2016 will see the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2016 coming into force. From this date, the new National Living Wage will apply to workers aged 25 and over, bringing the minimum level of pay for such workers to £7.20 per hour. Employers should ensure their payroll systems are ready for this change.

Increase in awards

The maximum compensatory award for an unfair dismissal will rise from £78,335 to £78,962 from 6 April 2016. The maximum amount of a week's pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and various awards including the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal, also rises from £475 to £479.

New Employment Tribunal powers

From 6 April 2016 Employment Tribunals will have the ability to financially penalise those employers who fail to pay tribunal awards or settlement sums under a COT3 agreement. In addition, parties seeking a postponement of an Employment Tribunal hearing will be limited to two such requests per case, and a deadline for postponements of seven days before the hearing will be introduced. The Employment Tribunal will also be required to consider a costs order where a successful application for a postponement is made less than seven days before the hearing.