Employment Law Changes

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Posted in:HR and Employment|September 28, 2015 | Join the mailing list

On 1 October the following changes are taking place:

Minimum wage changes

The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to by law. It doesn’t matter how small an employer is, they still have to pay the
minimum wage. The standard adult rate, which applies to workers aged 21 or over (there is no upper age limit), will increase from
£6.50 to £6.70 per hour.

Tribunals lose power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases

The power of employment tribunals to make wider recommendations (that may benefit others and not just the claimant personally) in successful discrimination cases will be
repealed (Section 2, Deregulation Act 2015).
Previously a tribunal’s power to make recommendations was limited to what steps an employer should take to reduce the adverse effect of the discrimination on the
person bringing the claim, but this could only be used if that person was still working for the company.

The right for Sikhs to wear turbans instead of safety helmets will be expanded to all workplaces

The right for Sikhs to wear a turban instead of a safety helmet will be expanded to almost all workplaces in Great Britain (Sections 6 and 7, Deregulation Act 2015). However,
it does not extend to workplaces in industries where head protection is often required, such as factories, warehouses and transportation. There will still be limited exceptions for specific roles in the military and emergency services. The aim of this amendment
is to balance the health and safety needs from an employer’s perspective with employee’s right to express their religious beliefs freely, to avoid the risk of an indirect race or religious discrimination claim

Self-employed people become exempt from health and safety law if they have no employees

Only self-employed people who conduct certain work (or who have employees) will have a duty under Health and Safety Laws to protect themselves and others from risk to health
and safety. The Government believe that by exempting those self-employed people from health and safety duties, who work in low-risk occupations, that present no risk to other people, will exempt 1.7 million workers. The self-employed people have the discretion
to decide whether their work activity is a potential risk to the health and safety of others. The self-employed are likely to welcome the concept of deregulation and some may even benefit from reduced public liability insurance premiums.

For more information about any of the above or for practical commercial advice on this or any other aspect of employment law, please contact
Michelle Gray of the berg Employment Team on 0161 833 9211 or email him at
michelleg@berg.co.uk.

Follow us on Twitter: @Berg_HR

(The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal
advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.)

 

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