Changes to Employment Law from 1st October 2015

Every year a number of changes are made to Employment Law and this year is no different.

At Leeds Day we strive to stay ahead of the game, so here is an update of the changes taking effect from 1st October:

1. National minimum wage increases

From the 1st October the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2015 will increase the national minimum wage as follows:

  1. The minimum wage for workers aged 21 and over will increase from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour;
  2. The minimum wage for 18 to 20 year olds will increase from £5.13 to £5.30 per hour;
  3. the minimum wage for 16 to 17 year olds will increase from £3.79 to £3.87 per hour;
  4. The minimum wage for apprentices will increase from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour; and
  5. The rate of the accommodation offset will increase from £5.08 to £5.35.

2.Tribunals lose power to make wider recommendations

The Equality Act 2010 gave Employment Tribunals the power in discrimination cases to make wider recommendations to the employer that may benefit other employees, and not just the claimant personally. However, the Deregulation Act 2015 removes this power. This means that Employment Tribunals only have the power to make recommendations to the employer regarding the discrimination of the particular employee in question.

3.Modern slavery statements

The Modern Slavery Act, which aims to promote anti-slavery practices among businesses by modernising the law on slavery, comes into force on 1st October. Section 54 of the act requires employers with an annual turnover of £36 million or more to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement each year. The statement must set out the action the employer has taken to ensure there are no issues of human trafficking or slavery either in their business or in their supply chain.

4.Sikh safety helmet exemption extended to all workplaces

Sikhs are currently subject to an exemption of the requirement to wear a safety helmet on construction sites. This rule is now going to apply to all workplaces meaning that Sikhs will be able to wear a turban, and not a safety helmet, in workplaces such as warehouses, factories and vehicles involved in transportation. However, it is important to note that there are still some cases where Sikh workers are required to wear a safety helmet, for example, in emergency response teams and the armed forces.

5.Ban on smoking in cars with children

The Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015 (SI 286/2015) amend the Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 (SI 765/2007) to ban smoking in private cars carrying a person aged under 18. This means that employers will need to consider revising their smoking and company car policies, as employees using a company car for family purposes will be affected by the new law.

If you have any questions in relation to the points raised in this article please do not hesitate to contact or HR/ Employment specialist Claire Berry on 01480 442080 or email claire.berry@leedsday.co.uk


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