Employment Round-up for October 2015: Legislative Changes That You Need to Know

BlogHR Advice Posted: Friday 25th September 2015 by

October sees many changes in employment legislation that will affect employers of all sizes across the UK. Here’s a round-up of what you’ll need to know…

National Minimum Wage

Following the annual review of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), rates will rise from October 1st 2015. All workers, with the exception of those that are genuinely self-employed and therefore responsible for their own income, are legally entitled to receive NMW.

  • For workers aged 21 and over, the rate will rise from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour
  • For workers aged 18 – 20, the rate will rise from £5.13 to £5.30 per hour
  • For young workers aged 16 – 17, the rate will rise from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour
  • For apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in their first year of apprenticeship, the rate will rise from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour

NMW should be calculated to exclude additional payments such as tips, on-call allowances and unsocial hours payments etc. It is worth noting that there a maximum penalty for non-compliance of up to £20,000 per case.

Additionally, as from April 2016, employers should be aware that the new National Living Wage (NLW) will come into force for workers aged 25 and over. As announced in the 2015 summer budget, the NLW has been set by government at a rate of £7.20 per hour. You can find more details on how this will affect you or  your business on the gov.uk website.

Exemptions from Protective Headgear for Turban-wearing Sikhs

An extension to the Employment Act 1989, in which turban-wearing Sikhs are exempt from the requirement to wear head protection when working on construction sites, will be rolled out on October 1st 2015 to cover all places of work in the UK.

This means any employer that normally requires protective headgear to be worn by staff, must exempt their Sikh employees from the rule if they wear a turban and if the individual chooses to exercise their right to exemption.

The Deregulation Act, 2015, states that:

The purpose of this amendment is to extend the scope of the exemption in section 11 so that turban-wearing Sikhs will be exempt from legal requirements to wear a safety helmet in all workplaces (defined in subsection (6)), either as workers or visitors, subject to certain exclusions set out in subsection (5) of this section.

This amendment does not remove the requirement for an employer to assess the risk to his employees, nor to make available any protective equipment, including head protection, considered to be necessary following the risk assessment. The decision not to wear appropriate head protection in accordance with the exemption in section 11 of the 1989 Act is to be made by the turban-wearing Sikh individual.”

For full details of the Deregulation Act, visit the leglislation.gov website.

Slavery and Human Trafficking Statements

Also this October, businesses with a turnover of more than £36M will be legally obliged to deliver an annual statement that sets out what steps they have taken to combat slavery and human trafficking within their international supply chains. If they have not taken any steps at all, this must also be mentioned.

In a statement made to The Guardian by David Noble, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, he revealed that 11% of British business leaders say it is likely that modern slavery already plays a role in their supply chains.

 Need Help?

Human Results offer expert HR services on retainer, or on a one-off basis to help guide you through the daily challenges of managing your business from a people perspective.

We also provide expert leadership development coaching programmes to secure long-term capability within your organisation, and a critical support structure for your leaders. 

For more information, call Human Results on 01952 288361 for a no obligation, confidential discussion.

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