Employment Law Differences across Great Britain: Part 2

Peninsula Team

May 13 2011

Although many employment laws apply across the length and breadth of Great Britain, there are several details that are dealt with differently, the application of which may achieve differing results in an Employment Tribunal.

Here is our second and final part of the series of articles, highlighting where employment law is different between England, Scotland and Wales.

National Minimum Wage
The school leaving age in Scotland is different to England. This is important when determining the point at which an individual should start to receive the National Minimum Wage. The National Minimum Wage becomes payable when an individual is no longer of compulsory school age. In Scotland, there are two possible dates at which a child may leave school and become no longer of compulsory school age. If a child turns 16 between 1st March and 30th September, he/she may leave school on 31st May of that year. If the child turns 16 on 1st October to 28th February of the following year, he/she may leave on the first day of the Christmas holidays.

In England and Wales, a child is no longer of compulsory school age after the last Friday of June in the school year in which their 16th birthday falls.

Criminal Records
Criminal records checks in Scotland are requested from and dealt with by Disclosure Scotland. However, in England and Wales, the Criminal Records Bureau is the body from which such information on an employee’s background is given.

Protecting Vulnerable People
Although the Vetting and Barring Scheme was not introduced as planned, if and when it ever is introduced, it will not apply in Scotland – its scope covers only England and Wales. The Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme) was introduced in Scotland on 28th February 2011 in order to prevent people who are considered unsuitable from working with children or protected adults.

Rolled Up Holiday Pay
Rolled up holiday pay, an alternative way of making payment for time spent on annual leave, is unlawful in Scotland by virtue of MPB Structures v Munro 2003 IRLR 250 CS. More recent case law has also technically made the practice of rolled up holiday pay unlawful in England and Wales. However, where a case falls against the employer in this situation in England and Wales, the payments already made to the employee will be offset against the money found to be due by the tribunal. Therefore, no additional money will need to be paid. But this is not the case in Scotland, where no payments will be offset so extra money will be due to the employee.

Compensation limits
Where claims of breach of contract and equal pay are made, the award payable in a successful claim can cover the previous 5 year period in Scotland, but in England and Wales the award will be calculated over the previous 6 year period, resulting in a higher award.

For more information on the topics raised in this editorial please contact our Advice Line on 0844 892 2772.

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