New employment regulations come into force as of October 2010

Increases to the national minimum wage

From 1st October the new minimum hourly rates are:

  • Standard (adult) rate to apply to all workers (other than first year apprentices) aged 21 and over, £5.93 (rising from £5.80).
  • Development rate to apply to workers aged between 18 and 20, £4.92 (rising from £4.83).
  • Young workers rate to apply to workers aged under 18 but above the compulsory school age who are not apprentices, £3.64 (rising from £3.57).
  • Apprentices are no longer exempt; a new minimum wage for apprentices of £2.50 is introduced. This applies to apprentices under 19 or those aged 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship. The value of the accommodation offset also increases from £4.51 to £4.61.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 which mostly comes into force on 1st October unifies existing discrimination legislation. However there is some strengthening of the existing law.

This means:

  • Employers may be liable, in some circumstances, for harassment by third parties in the workplace.
  • Employers’ pre—employment health enquiries are prohibited unless they are made for prescribed reasons.
  • Clauses providing for “pay secrecy” are likely to be unenforceable.
  • Tribunals will be able to make recommendations to benefit the wider workforce, not just the claimant.
  • Employers recruiting or promoting someone may take positive action to appoint someone from an under—represented group if they have a choice between two or more equally—suitable candidates.

New regulations for employment agencies and employment businesses

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2010 come into force on 1st October 2010.

These amended regulations include:

  • Require advertisements to specify whether the position is temporary or permanent. Advertisements will no longer need to include a statement confirming whether the organisation is acting as an employment agency or employment—business.
  • Make changes to the provisions on obtaining work—seekers’ consent to terms before providing services.
  • Modify the suitability checks that employment businesses and employment agencies currently must carry out on work—seekers. Before introducing a work—seeker to a hirer the business or agency must obtain confirmation of the identity of the work seeker and that that work—seeker is willing to work in the position the hirer.
  • Introduce a 30—day cooling off period for contracts with work—seekers who are performers (such as actors, dancers and singers) during which the work—seeker will have a right to cancel or withdraw from the contract with immediate effect.

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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