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Sir Brendan Barber predicts public sector pay, new national living wage, EU referendum & UK's productivity challenge will be key issues in 2016

Friday 01 January 2016

Sir Brendan Barber, the chair of Britain's top employment relations service, Acas, predicts what lies in store within the world of work for 2016 in a blog published today. Brendan Barber said:

"2016 will see momentous changes in Britain's workplaces. The new Living Wage coming in April will require many thousands of employers to change their pay structures. The challenge of preparing for the new apprenticeship levy, to be introduced in 2017, will also be high on the agenda for many businesses.

"Boosting skill levels is, of course, one of the factors that can drive improved productivity and solving the so-called "productivity puzzle" is the most fundamental challenge that has to be met if our economy is to deliver the solid and sustained rise in national prosperity that we all want to see.

"From Acas' perspective more attention needs to focus on the quality of workplace relations as a central driver of business performance and innovation. To support that Acas will be launching, early in the New Year, an accessible productivity toolkit to help businesses assess their strategies for boosting workplace performance.

"Britain's economy, while showing signs of recovery, will continue to be buffeted by changing pressures from the global economy. Nearer to home, continuing pay restraint across the public sector may also see challenging disputes in hard pressed public services.

"2016 could also be the year when our relationship with Europe is determined through the planned referendum. The impact of this decision on Britain's workplaces will be profound. Much of our current settled employment legislation and practice derives from the framework of agreed European law accumulated over recent decades. All of that would be in the melting pot of uncertainty should a decision to leave the European Union be made.

"Whatever turbulences come along Acas will continue to promote best workplace practice and to assist wherever possible in resolving disputes when they arise."

Sir Brendan Barber's blog can be seen at Sir Brendan Barber: Workplace predictions for 2016.

Notes for editors

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  2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.