Employment Law Changes

Several important employment law changes come into affect in October 2015 and these include:

Minimum wage increases from 1st October

The minimum wage for adults will increase by 20 pence from £6.50 to £6.70 an hour
For young people aged 18 to 20 the increase will be 17 pence to £5.30 an hour.
For those aged 16 and 17 the increase is 8 pence an hour to £3.87
The apprentice rate will increase by 57 pence to £3.30

This will be the largest real-term increase since 2007 and more than 1.4 million of the lowest paid workers will be affected by this.

Ban on smoking in cars with children from 1st October

Currently company vehicles must be smoke free unless the vehicle is mainly used for private purposes. The legislation changes in England from 1st October when drivers of private cars will be banned from smoking in them if there are children under 18 in the vehicle. Employers may need to update smoking and company car policies where employees use a company car for private use and will therefore be affected by this change to the law.

Exemption on Sikh safety helmets extended to all workplaces from 1st October

Legislation exempting turban wearing Sikhs from wearing safety helmets on construction sites will be extended to include all workplaces from 1st October 2015. This will mean that in work places such as warehouses and factories Sikhs will be able to wear a turban in place of a safety helmet. There are limited cases where head protection will still need to be worn but these are mainly involving Sikh members of the armed forces or those who work in emergency response services.

Modern Slavery Statements

Modern slavery is defined as forced or compulsory labour, human trafficking or servitude. From October 2015 those businesses with a turnover of more than £36 million will be required to publish a modern slavery statement each year to outline the actions in place within their business or work place to prevent modern slavery in any part of their business or supply chain.

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