New minimum wage rates and other employment law changes this autumn

By KMC Human Resources

30 Sep 2015

Autumn is well and truly upon us. As the darker nights and morning start to creep in, the dawn of new employment law changes are just on the horizon. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes due to come into force this October. For more information on any of the below, please contact us.

National Minimum Wage Increases. As of 1st October, the National Minimum Wage for adult workers (over 25) in the UK will increase from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour.

Hourly rates for young workers will also apply – 16-17 year olds will benefit from an increase to £3.87 and 18-20 year olds from a rise to £5.30.

Apprentice workers will also see a new hourly rate at £3.30 – representing a 57 pence increase on the previously set rate. This will be the last increase in the national minimum wage before the new living wage comes into play next spring. Some employers have already made steps to introduce a ‘living wage’ and employers should keep an eye on what competitors in their industry set as their minimum rates.

Fit for Work service to become operational. The government’s new scheme to assess the health of individuals that are absent from work due to illness is set to become fully operational by Autumn. Aimed at encouraging workers that have been off ill back into work, the system will allow employers to make a referral for members of staff that have been absent from work for four weeks or longer. Once a referral has been made, the employee can attend an occupational health assessment; designed to identify any obstacles preventing them from returning to work.

Smoking ban in cars where children are present. From 1st October, new legislation in England will make it illegal to smoke in cars in which children (under 18 years of age) are passengers.

Although smoke-free legislation already covers work vehicles if they are used by more than one person at any time, the new legislation is to cover ‘private vehicles’, so will apply to company cars used for family purposes. Employers will need to look at their company car policy and smoking policy to ensure it is line with the new rules. Further changes to come into force in October include the mandatory reporting of modern slavery statement by employers with a turnover of over £36m, and widening the legislation that exempts turban-wearing Sikhs from any requirement to wear safety helmets on construction sites to all workplaces.

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