Welcome to Employment Edit, our pick of the key employment law developments from the last couple of weeks:
- Gender pay reporting – the government has clarified two aspects of the draft regulations. Firstly, the definition of "relevant employee" is likely to be expanded to include workers as well as employees. The means more businesses may find themselves having to report and that reports may have to include individuals such as partners in LLPs. Secondly, the "quartile pay bands" are to be identified by splitting the overall hourly pay range into four equal segments and not, as some had thought, by dividing the number of employees into quarters.
- Childcare vouchers – a decision of the EAT has thrown into doubt HMRC guidance that an employer must continue to provide childcare vouchers under a salary sacrifice scheme during maternity leave. The EAT concluded the vouchers were "remuneration" and did not have to be maintained during leave. However, the EAT's decision is, by its own admission, somewhat tentative (with many arguing it is legally flawed) and so employers are unlikely to want to change their arrangements in consequence (Peninsula Business Services Ltd v Donaldson UKEAT/0249/15).
- Shared parental leave - the government's consultation on extending shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents will be launched in May, with a view to implementing the new right in 2018. The consultation will also look to simplify the shared parental leave regime more generally.
- National minimum wage - new rates have been announced effective from 1 October 2016 with the hourly rate for 21-24 year olds increasing to £6.95. The new National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour), which applies to workers aged 25 and over, comes into effect on 1 April 2016 and will not change in October.