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Employment Law Update: October 2015

By September 24, 2015Legal Update
Attendance Bonuses | HR Solutions

It’s almost October, which means that the annual employment law update is just around the corner.

We’re taking a look at some of the more significant upcoming legislative changes and highlighting how these may have a direct impact upon your business.

  1. National Minimum Wage Increase

The National Living Wage is due to come into effect next April, but that doesn’t stop the annual National Minimum Wage (NMW) increasing in the meantime. This year’s rates actually mark the largest real-terms NMW increase since 2007.

From October 1st the NMW rates will be:

  • £6.70 per hour for employees aged 21 and over
  • £5.30 per hour for employees aged 18-20
  • £3.87 per hour for employees aged 16-17
  • £3.30 per hour for apprentices

The accommodation offset will also increase to £5.35.

  1. Sikh Safety Helmet Exemption

Sikhs that wear turbans are already exempt from wearing a safety helmet on construction sites, but from October 1st this exemption will extend to all workplaces. This means that Sikhs will be able to wear a turban and not a safety helmet in working environments such as warehouses, factories, and when using vehicles.

There are limited restrictions to this – Sikhs must still wear head protection if they are working in emergency response or the armed forces.

  1. Smoking Ban in with Children

From October 1st drivers of private vehicles will not be allowed to smoke if they are carrying children as passengers. This applies to England only, as there is already a similar ban in place in Wales and Scotland is working to introduce one.

Company vehicles must be smoke free unless the vehicle is used mainly as an employee’s personal mode of transport. Any employer that lets their employees use a company vehicle for personal use must ensure that their policies are updated to reflect the new law.

  1. Employment Tribunals Lose Power to make Wider Recommendations

Employment Tribunals will no longer have the power to make recommendations for the benefit of the wider workforce.

Since 2010 Employment Tribunals have been able to make recommendations to employers that go beyond the specifics of a particular claim. However the removal of this power is unlikely to have much impact as this power was rarely used.

  1. Modern Slavery Statements

As we reported last month, from October 1st any company with an annual turnover of at least £36 million will be required to publish a Modern Slavery Statement. This annual statement must set out the steps that the business has taken to prevent slavery or human trafficking from taking place in any part of their business or supply chain.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above employment law changes please get in touch to discuss your circumstances with one of our HR consultants.

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