Employment law is changed twice every year and 1st October is the latest date for changes. It is a good time of year to check you are compliant with employment law.

We have had a run of cases where clients terminate employment of employees and perhaps are justified in doing so but do not follow the correct procedures and lose out in consequence, so always take early legal advice. As for the new changes the new National Minimum wage rates are:

  • £5.80 an hour for adults (workers aged 22 and over) – the current rate is £5.73
  • £4.83 an hour for workers aged 18 to 21 inclusive – the current rate is £4.77
  • £3.57 an hour for young people – the current rate is £3.53

There are also new rules on employing children – see the The Department for Children, Schools and Family – Guide on Employing Children, which deals with what work children may do, number of hours they may work and health and safety requirements. Few will have missed the press coverage on the rules (i) having to vet parents and others helping at school events and (ii) the furore over care for under-fives for “reward”. The rules are complicated so check with us to ensure you are compliant.

Another interesting change is that the European Court of Justice has said that if your holiday is spoiled because you are sick you can still claim your holiday once you are back to work. The Court said that if an employee “does not wish to take annual leave during a period of sick leave, annual leave must be granted to him for a different period”. They would of course need proof of the illness.

There have also been plans published by the Government to improve paternity leave rights. Women who go back to work after six months having had a baby can transfer their six months unused maternity leave to their partner. However, as before, it is only the first six weeks which are at 90% of pay and thereafter in the first six months the rates are merely the low statutory maternity pay rates for the rest of the mother’s initial six month period and unpaid thereafter. The change for men means they would obtain three months paid at the SMP rate and three months’ unpaid leave. At present they receive at most 14 days. The aim is to bring the changes in before the next election.

Call Debbie Mactaggart on 01924 387110 for more information on any of these measures or for an update/improvement of your existing employment contracts and procedures and, before you make any staff redundant, to ensure you follow proper procedures and minimise the risk of claims.

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