Employment law changes in October and beyond

Year Published: 2011

This month sees two important employment law changes that may affect your business.  Please see below for useful guidance together with details on future employment tribunals.

National Minimum Wage

The first was the annual increase in the national minimum wages rates:

1. Adult rate increased from GBP 5.93 to GBP 6.08 an hour
2. The rate for 18-20 year olds increased from GBP 4.92 to GBP 4.98 an hour
3. The rate for 16-17 year olds increased from GBP 3.64 to GBP 3.68 an hour
4. The rate for apprentices increased from GBP 2.50 to GBP 2.60 an hour.

The Government estimates that 890,000 of Britain’s lowest-paid workers will gain from these changes.

The Agency Workers Regulations

The second change was the implementation of the Agency Workers Regulations which grant agency workers the right to equal treatment in matters of pay and conditions as staff hired directly by the employer once the worker has satisfied a 12-week qualifying period.

These conditions include the same basic hourly pay rates, overtime, shift allowances, unsocial hours’ premiums, payments for difficult or dangerous duties, lunch vouchers, bonuses for the quality and quantity of work, rest breaks and holidays.

While the main benefits apply only after 12 weeks’ employment, there are some benefits which agency workers will be entitled to from day one of a job. They can use existing collective facilities such as a crèche or canteen. In addition, from day one, employers must also ensure that agency workers are made aware of vacancies that arise in the business.

Future changes to employment tribunals

The Government has confirmed its commitment to make changes to the employment tribunal system with two major changes. From 6 April 2012, the qualifying period for employees to be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal will increase from one to two years. Then from April 2013, there will be fees payable for lodging and pursuing employment tribunal claims.

If you require additional information in relation to the above or wish to discuss any employment law issue, please contact our Employment Law and HR team on 0161 475 7676.

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