Everything you need to know to help you as an employer in keeping up to date with employment law.
National Minimum Wage rates to increase from October 2015
New National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates will take effect from October this year as follows:
• NMW for adults increases to £6.70/hour (a 20p/3% increase)
• NMW for 18-20 year olds increases to £5.30/hour (a 17p/3% increase)
• NMW for 16-17 year olds increases to £3.87/hour (an 8p/2% increase)
The 3% increase in the adult NMW rate is the biggest real-time increase since 2008.
What about apprentices?
The NMW for apprentices will increase by 57p to £3.30 per hour which represents an increase of 20%. This still represents excellent value for money when we look at the value an apprentice can bring to a business when supported and trained in their chosen field.
Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts to be banned
Draft legislation has been issued which aims to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts as part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill currently before Parliament.
What does it mean?
Some businesses have tried to ensure that people employed on zero hours contracts cannot accept work with other employers by using so-called exclusivity clauses. These type of clauses go directly against the spirit of a true zero hours contract which aims to give flexibility to both the employer and the employee, allowing the employer to offer work when available but also allowing the employee to accept work from one or more businesses as they choose.
Should I be worried?
If you already use zero hours contracts and you think that you may have an exclusivity clause or you’d just like to have your contracts reviewed, give us a call on 01487 815720. We don’t and never have written zero hours contracts with exclusivity clauses in so if you have a contract that we’ve provided, you definitely don’t need to worry!
Any other updates?
You may be aware that zero hours contracts have come in for a lot of criticism recently and that there’s been a public consultation on their use. The problem is that a number of businesses, many of them larger businesses, have used zero hours contracts as “loopholes” to get out of paying staff as they really should and have included exclusivity clauses which are clearly unenforceable. We don’t yet know what the outcome of new legislation will be for zero hours contracts but we suspect that the Government will look to close as many loopholes as possible. In other words, watch this space and we’ll keep you posted on anything you need to know!
Shared Parental Leave is coming soon – what does it mean for your business?
In simple terms, shared parental leave is a new way for people to share the entitlement to leave when a baby is born or a child is adopted and comes into effect from 5th April 2015. Everything explained in this employment law update applies to adoptions as well as to babies being born.
How is it relevant?
It’s relevant to every business because it could (if selected) replace the more traditional route of a female employee having up to 52 weeks leave around the birth of a baby (maternity leave) and a male employee having just 1 or 2 weeks’ leave after the birth (paternity leave).
Shared Parental Leave could mean that a female employee who went off to have a baby would return to work much earlier than you might otherwise have expected or planned for which could be great news for your business. You might be able to manage for a period of time without having to arrange maternity cover and it could mean that the period of leave has less of an overall impact on your business.
The (possibly) bad..
However, it could also mean that any eligible member of staff, male or female, could now give you notice that they intend to take the unused portion of leave once their partner has either returned to work or has given what’s called “binding notice” (i.e. a decision that cannot normally be changed) to her employer of the date that she intends to return to work. Your employee only needs to give you 8 weeks’ notice of their intention to take up Shared Parental Leave and if you didn’t know that their partner was pregnant or that they were planning to adopt, that could come as quite a surprise.
And the challenge of planning..
Previously, maternity or adoption leave started on a specific date and ended on a specific date and other than booking accrued holiday before or after the period of leave, you pretty much knew how long the leave was going to be. With SPL, leave can be taken in up to 3 separate blocks so you could find that, as long as the member of staff gives you at least 8 weeks’ notice, they can book leave on 3 separate occasions, making it a challenge to plan for your business to have sufficient resource during those periods of time.
For more information about Shared Parental Leave, employee entitlements and a full SPL policy, get in touch today.
New statutory rates take effect from April 2015
How is it relevant?
You’ll need to ensure that you are using the correct rates for the following statutory entitlements:
|Entitlement||Aka||New weekly rate for 2015/16 tax year|
|Statutory Sick Pay||SSP||£88.45|
|Statutory Maternity Pay||SMP||£139.58|
|Statutory Paternity Pay||SPP||£139.58|
|Statutory Adoption Pay||SAP||£139.58|
|Shared Parental Pay*||ShPP||£139.5|
*applies when Shared Parental Leave is taken
For advice and support on statutory rates, legal updates and more, give us a call today.
New government advice service launched – Fit For Work
The new Fit for Work service has now been launched with the intention of helping employers to better manage sickness absence and support employees both at work and off sick. There are two key elements:
- Free, expert and impartial work-related health advice via the website and telephone line available to all – including employers, employees and GPs.
- Referral to an occupational health professional for employees who have been off sick or who are likely to be off sick for four weeks or more.
There will be a phased roll-out of the referral service taking place over a period of months, but in the meantime, you can access expert and impartial advice delivered by the team of occupational health professionals.
For advice on dealing with sickness absence, be that long term or persistent short term, get in touch on 01487 815720.