TT writes: What legislation or HR rules do I need to be aware of that are scheduled to be introduced in the coming weeks?
The national minimum wage will increase from 1st October 2015, including a significant unique increase to the rate to be paid to apprentices. The adult rate will increase from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour; the rate payable to 18 – 20 year olds will rise from £5.13 to £5.30 per hour; and the rate for those over compulsory school age but not yet 18 will increase from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour. The apprentice rate will increase from £2.73 per hour to £3.30 per hour, representing an almost 21% increase.
Although the National Living Wage was recently announced, this will not come into effect until April 2016. Whilst employers are implementing the new changes in October, it may be a good idea for employers to carry out an audit ahead of the introduction of the National Living Wage to ensure their readiness. Checking out the age of all employees will be a necessary step, so that all those who are 25 or over in April 2016 will receive the increased rate of £7.20 per hour.
Large companies will need to have an anti-slavery statement in place for October 2015. Businesses with a turnover of at least £36 million must publish the steps that they have taken to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking do not take place in their organisation or the supply chains it uses. If no steps have been taken, then it must publish this fact. The new requirement does not place an obligation on businesses to take steps to prevent modern slavery, just a need to publish a statement.
Employment tribunals will no longer have a power to make wide recommendations to an employer who has unsuccessfully defended a claim of discrimination. Currently, employers may be ordered to carry out an equal pay audit in their organisation; implement an equal opportunities policy or provide staff with training on removing discrimination in the workplace, for example. These recommendations will no longer be possible from October 2015, however, the power to make recommendations in relation to the individual who has been discriminated against will be retained.
The Fit For Work Scheme which enables employers to get a free occupational health assessment and follow up advice for employees who have been off sick for 4 weeks will be operational from October.