Key developments on the agenda for businesses in April 2016 include the introduction of the PSC register and the national living wage, and the adoption of a new directive on trade secrets. The adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation is now not expected until the summer.
Companies and LLPs will be required to keep a PSC register
From 6 April 2016, almost all UK companies (other than those that are publicly traded and already report on control) as well as LLPs and SEs will be required to keep a new statutory register of people with significant control. The PSC register will contain information on individuals who ultimately own or control 25% of a company’s shares or voting rights, or who otherwise exercise control over the company and its management.
Practical Law Corporate has published a suite of new materials in relation to the register of people with significant control.
New National Living Wage applies
The new National Living Wage applies from 1 April 2016, increasing to £7.20 an hour the minimum hourly rate of pay to which workers aged 25 and over are entitled. All employers are obliged to pay the minimum wage, irrespective of their size.
Employment tribunal compensation limits will increase
Employment tribunal compensation limits increase on 6 April 2016. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £78,335 to £78,962. 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.
In addition, new financial penalties will apply to employers who fail to pay tribunal awards or settlement sums.
EU-US Privacy Shield opinion expected
The Article 29 Working Party, which is the group of European data protection authorities, is expected to issue its opinion on the EU-US privacy shield during April. This will give an early indication to companies on whether the political agreement reached at the end of last year provides adequate privacy protection for EU/US data transfers, although it is unlikely to mean any immediate changes for companies.
More pressing is the forthcoming adoption of the new General Data Protection Regulation, which was expected in the early part of this year but now seems to have been put back to Summer 2016. Nevertheless, the Information Commissioner’s Office is still urging companies to start preparing now.
Trade secrets directive to be adopted
The European Parliament is expected to adopt a proposed directive on the protection of trade secrets on 16 April 2016, which will come into force later this year. The directive aims to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets as well as protecting investigative journalism and whistleblowers. Member states normally have two years to implement directives into their national law system.
Last orders: consultations closing in April
Consultations on modernising the framework for IP rights enforcement , the implementation of the EU non-financial reporting Directive into UK law, amendments to the Takeover Code and terms and conditions in consumer contracts come to a close in April 2016.