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Key changes to employment law in October

Following a huge year for Employment law reform, a number of extra changes came into force from October 1st 2014. National minimum wage has been raised, more rights have been granted for prenatal time off work and changes have been made to equal pay tribunal actions.

Each of these changes means a significant internal time investment to make sure every detail of your company’s finances are compliant every time a change is made to the law.

Following a huge year for Employment law reform, a number of extra changes came into force from October 1st 2014. National Minimum Wage has been raised, more rights have been granted for prenatal time off work and changes have been made to equal pay tribunal actions.

Each of these changes means a significant internal time investment to make sure every detail of your company’s finances are compliant every time a change is made to the law.

Here are the main points you need to be aware of:

1. Antenatal rights for fathers and partners to take time off work

Fathers and partners will now be entitled to take unpaid leave in order to attend two antenatal appointments. For contractors, the same rights still apply and if an agency or employer refuses a request by a contractor to exercise this right, they could face a tribunal and a hefty fine in the process. So it is important to ensure that you remain compliant.

2. Employment tribunals must order equal pay audits

When an equal pay claim is submitted and a tribunal finds there has been an equal pay breach, the employer must be ordered to carry out an equal pay audit unless an exception applies. Up until now, the gender pay gap was 10% for full-time workers, almost doubling to 19.7% when part-time workers were added to the equation. As such, the government has introduced new powers for employment tribunals to order equal pay audits to be carried out by employers who lose equal pay claims. Just how this will work in practice remains to be seen, as many equal pay claims tend to be settled before the intervention of the courts.

3. National minimum wage increases from £6.31 to £6.50 per hour

This will affect over 1 million people who are now set to see their pay rise by as much as £355 a year, in what Business SecretaryVince Cable described as “the biggest cash increase in their take home pay since 2008”. George Osborne has claimed that the National Minimum Wage would later rise to £7 an hour by 2015, with amounts expected to reach £8 per hour by 2020. Higher minimum wage has been thought to improve the health of the economy on a big-picture scale, but many argue that this will put unnecessary strain on companies.

In 2010, the Institute of Directors estimated the financial implication of legislation on UK businesses implementing current and proposed regulation at £80bn per year. Of course, there is no question that this legislation is necessary – it protects both the employer and the employee from unnecessary legal action and ensures the workplace is a safe and fair environment to be part of.

The difficulty, however, comes when this legislation is tweaked as often as it is – sometimes several times a year. So it is perhaps not surprising that many employers and contract workers alike are unsure if they or the Umbrella they work with are compliant with the latest legislation. But that’s where we can help.

One Click specialises in the ability to keep pace with these changes. It offers a uniquely endorsed service that removes the effort entirely, with contractors managing its own time, and working through an automated system to handle PAYE, tax and any extra details. One Click is currently the only Umbrella service vetted by the IOR and Eversheds, as a testament to its constant compliance with UK laws, and professional business practices.

 

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