Employment Law changes

Working in recruitment, every April and October we wait with anticipation to see what changes will be made to employment laws – and this year was no different.

With changes to the National Minimum Wage and the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, which are both now in place.

National Minimum Wage
The main change is that the higher rate now applies to everyone from the age of 21, or apprentices who have completed at least one year and are aged 19 or over.

The new rates are as follows:

• Workers aged 21 and over £5.93 from £5.80
• Workers aged 18 to 20 £4.92 from £4.83
• Workers aged under 16 to 17 years £3.64 from £3.57
Apprentices under 19 years or over 19 years if in year one of apprenticeship £2.50

Equality Act 2010
This replaces previous discrimination legislation, including the Race Relations Act 1976 and Disability Discriminations Act 1995, making it easier for employers to understand and comply with the law.
There have been 11 changes, the one of most interest being the use of pre-employment questionnaires.
Employers will not be able to ask pre-employment questions unless:
• You have already offered the position subject to satisfactory health checks
• It is to establish whether the applicant can carry out an essential task that is intrinsic to the role, for example warehouse operator needs to be able to lift heavy goods

Beware: If you do not offer the role as a result of the questions asked or the health check report, the em¬ployee may challenge on the grounds of discrimination.
There are no guidelines yet with regards to wording of the questions. This is likely to be developed through case law.

Laura Hartley
Laura Hartley Recruitment