HR Newsletter October 2015

Employment Help for the Very Busy – Winter Edition 

Welcome to my latest HR Newsletter with a round-up of legislative changes and their likely impact on small and micro businesses. If you find this information helpful, please pass on to others.

National Minimum Wage and The National Living Wage (1st Oct 2015)

For workers aged 21 and above the rate will increase from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour.

For workers aged between 18 and 20 the rate increases from £5.13 to £5.30.

For workers aged below 18 the rate increases from £3.79 to £3.87.

For apprentices aged 19 and below, or in the first year of their course, the rate increases from £2.73 to £3.30.

From April 2016, workers above 25 will receive the National Living Wage of £7.20 (set to rise to £9 by 2020). The government plans to improve its compliance guidance.

Kay’s comment: The government has pledged to help employers by increasing the Employment Allowance to £3,000 by April 2016 and reducing corporation tax to 18% by 2020. However, the cost of living rate set by the Living Wage Foundation, to reflect the actual cost of living, is £7.85.

Travelling Time for Mobile Workers (Sept 2015)

A recent EU ruling has stated that time spent by mobile workers travelling between their home and a customer’s premises should be considered ‘working time’.

Kay’s comment: This ruling applies to workers with no fixed place of work which may include maintenance technicians, engineers, sales reps and care workers. Depending on individual contracts, mobile workers may be entitled to be paid for their first and last journeys to and from customer’s premises. If you think that this might affect your business, please give me a call on: 01952 246612.

Fit for Work (Sept 2015)

The government backed Fit for Work service has been rolled out across England and Wales, allowing GPs and employers to request a free occupational health assessment after an employee has been absent for 4 or more weeks. The service is also supported by a telephone advice line for anyone requiring work-related health advice: 0800 032 6235.

Kay’s comment: Please note that employee consent is required before an assessment can be requested. The Return to Work Plans issued through the Fit for Work service will be used in the same way as the current GP Fit Notes. Further information is available on:

Employment Tribunal Fees (Aug 2015)

The Court of Appeal rejected Unison’s claim that Tribunal fees have been preventing people from making claims, because they are set too high.

Kay’s comment: The government is currently carrying out a review of the fees and it is highly likely that this will prompt a significant reduction in fee levels in due course.

Changes to Childcare (Sept 2016 and 2017)

The government plans to double the amount of free childcare to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from September next year to 30 hours a week. However, it has postponed its tax-free childcare scheme for employed and self-employed working parents to 2017.

Kay’s comment: The 2017 scheme will replace current employer supported childcare, but parents already receiving childcare vouchers will be allowed to continue, as long as employers continue to run them. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the proposed changes in a future HR Newsletter.

Please Note

The information contained in this HR Newsletter is provided for your general use only.  It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.

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