National Minimum Wage increased from the 1st of October 2015 as follows:
- for workers 21 and over the hourly rate has increased from £6.50 to £6.70 an hour;
- for workers aged 18 to 20 year olds the hourly rate has increased from £5.13 to £5.30 an hour;
- for workers under the age of 18, the hourly rate has increased from £3.79 to £3.87 an hour and
- for apprentices, the hourly rate has increased from £2.73 to £3.30 an hour.
Fit for Work referrals
The new Fit for Work Service is up and running. If any employee is absent from work for at least four weeks, this government funded service will provide occupational health assessments on referral from the employee’s GP or employer.
Smoking with passengers under the age of 18 is now banned
From the 1st of October 2015, the government has introduced new legislation preventing adults from smoking in their vehicles if there is a passenger under the age of 18 present.
Employers will need to review their smoking policies to ensure that it is amended to take this new legislation into consideration when dealing with company vehicles.
Safety helmet exemption available to Sikhs extended to all workplaces
From the 1st of October 2015, changes to the law via the Deregulation Act 2015 will prevent Sikhs who wear a turban from having to wear a safety helmet. This will include places such as factories, warehouses and vehicles involved in transportation.
The extension does not cover all workplaces as safety helmets will still be required for those working in emergency response and the armed forces.
Modern Slavery Statements
Any employer with an annual turnover of £36 million or more will now be required to publish a modern slavery statement detailing the steps taken to prevent modern slavery in their business. This change is being implemented from the 1st of October 2015.
Tribunal no longer able to make recommendations
One of the remedies available to a claimant claiming direct or indirect discrimination was a recommendation. This could include, for example, a recommendation that the employer review and re-draft their policies. However, from the 1st of October 2015, the Tribunal will no longer be permitted to make recommendations that go beyond the employee’s own circumstances.
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