Dentists Beware – Legal Changes Afoot!
DENTAL BULLETIN, ISSUE 18
Spring is finally here, but with it comes the first wave of new UK legislation for 2016.
So what key changes do you and your practice need to be aware of?
National Living Wage
From 1st April 2016 any worker who is 25 years old or above will be entitled to the National Living Wage, which is initially set at £7.20 per hour. The National Minimum Wage will continue to apply to workers under the age of 25. In addition, the penalty for employers who fail to pay the minimum amounts to workers has doubled from 100% of the underpayment to 200%. This, along with the introduction of Pension Auto Enrolment (which for many practices is due to take effect this year), will mean further increases in the cost of running your business. There is therefore little comfort in the 1% pay rise announced by the DDRB (for more on this see below).
As part of the Government’s drive to create more apprenticeships for young people, they have abolished the requirement for employers to pay NIC for apprentices under 25. This comes into effect from 6th April 2016. In addition, although not yet in force, the Government wants to ban organisations from using the term ‘apprenticeship’ unless it is a statutory apprenticeship. In order to be a statutory apprenticeship, there are certain legal requirements that must be met.
Zero Hour Contracts
It is unlikely that these contracts are common within the dental community. However, if you do employ staff on a zero hours contract, for example bank nurses, if those contracts contain an exclusivity clause, stating the employee can only work for you, the employee can now seek redress against unfair dismissal and detrimental treatment following a breach of such a clause.
With the amount of legislation and regulation in force that dentists must comply with, you can often get lost in a sea of red tape. We can take some of the hassle out of this for you by reviewing and redrafting contracts, policies and procedures so they are fully compliant, which will save you time and money in the long run.
In addition to the legal changes above, on 16th March 2016 George Osbourne announced the Spring Budget. Generally, the Budget saw positives for businesses, but how will it affect dentistry overall?
Please note that the information contained in this article was correct at the time of writing. There may have been updates to the law since the article was written, which may affect the information and advice given therein.