All change to employment law

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There are a number of changes to employment law coming into effect from April, 2017. Some of the key changes are as follows:

National living wage:
The national living wage was introduced in April, 2016. From April 1st, 2017 the rates will be increased and the following hourly rates will apply:

 

   The national living wage for
   workers aged 25 and over is
   £7.50.
   The standard adult rate for
   workers aged between 21 and
   24 is £7.05.
   The development rate for
   workers aged between 18 and
   20 is £5.60.
   The young workers rate for
   workers aged under 18 but
   above the compulsory school
   age who are not apprentices is
   £4.05.
   The rate for apprentices is
   £3.50.

 

If an employer provides a worker with accommodation, some of its value can be counted towards the minimum pay. This is known as the ‘accommodation offset’. From April 1st the accommodation offset will be £6.40 each day.

 

Tribunal compensation limits:
New tribunal compensation limits come into force on April 6th, 2017 which limit the amount that can be awarded by an Employment Tribunal in claims for unfair dismissal. The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used for example to calculate statutory redundancy payments and basic awards for unfair dismissal, will increase from £479 to £489. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £78,962 to £80,541.

 

Statutory maternity pay 
Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is payable at two different rates:
For the first six weeks, at the earnings-related rate, which is
90% of the employee’s normal weekly earnings.
For the remaining 33 weeks, at either the prescribed rate or
the earnings-related rate, whichever is lower.
The prescribed rate of SMP did not increase between April 2016 and April 2017 but will be increased from  April 2nd, from £139.58 per week to £140.98.
Dress codes and appearance at work are becoming more important. This is mainly due to the number of legal cases being highlighted in the media, such as the employee who was sent home for not wearing high heels to work. This has created uncertainties amongst employers and employees about what dress code is acceptable. Dress codes are acceptable in the workplace, for example workers may be asked to wear a uniform to communicate a certain image and ensure that customers can easily identify them. Sometimes an employer will introduce a dress code for health and safety reasons or hygiene reasons. For example workers may be required to tie their hair back or cover it for hygiene reasons if working in a kitchen.
An employer’s dress code must not however be discriminatory.

 

To avoid discrimination:
  • Employers must avoid unlawful discrimination in any dress code policy.
  • Employers may have health and safety reasons for having certain standards.
  • Dress codes must apply to both men and women equally, although they may have different requirements.
  • Reasonable adjustments must be made for disabled people when dress codes are in place.

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