Employment Law Changes

by Kidd Rapinet on October 8, 2009

Employment law is changed twice every year and 1st October is the latest date for changes. Sandra Meakins a partner in Kidd Rapinet says “It is a good time of year to check you are compliant with employment law. We have had a run of cases where clients terminate employment of employees and perhaps are justified in doing so but do not follow the correct procedures and lose out in consequence, so always take early legal advice.”

As for the new changes, the maximum amount of a week’s pay, for the purpose of calculating certain statutory payments, increases from £350 to £380 as of 1 October. The weekly maximum is used to calculate statutory redundancy payments and basic awards for unfair dismissal, among other things. The maximum statutory redundancy award or basic award for unfair dismissal for dismissals taking effect on or after 1 October 2009 is therefore now £11,400, up from £10,500.

The new National Minimum wage rates are:

  • £5.80 an hour for adults (workers aged 22 and over) – the previous rate was £5.73
  • £4.83 an hour for workers aged 18 to 21 inclusive – the previous rate was £4.77
  • £3.57 an hour for young people – the previous rate was £3.53

There are also new rules on employing children – see The Department for Children, Schools and Family Guide on Employing Children, which deals with what work children may do, the number of hours they may work and health and safety requirements. Few will have missed the press coverage on the rules re (i) having to vet parents and others helping at school events and (ii) the furore over care for under fives for “reward”. The rules are complicated, so check with us to ensure you are compliant.

Another interesting change is that the European Court of Justice has said that if your holiday is spoiled because you are sick you can still claim your holiday once you are back to work. The Court said that if an employee “does not wish to take annual leave during a period of sick leave, annual leave must be granted to him for a different period”. You would of course need proof of the illness.

There have also been plans published by the Government to improve paternity leave rights. Women who go back to work after six months having had a baby can transfer their six months unused maternity leave to their partner. However, as before, it is only the first six weeks which are at 90% of pay and the rates are merely the low statutory maternity pay rates for the rest of the mother’s initial six month period and unpaid after then. The change for men means they would obtain three months paid at the SMP rate and three months’ unpaid leave. At present they receive at most 14 days. The aim is to bring the changes in before the next election.

Call Sandra Meakins on 01252 713242 for advice on any of these areas or if you have an employment legal query.