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News in brief – October 2018

Record £15.6 million underpayment of National Minimum Wage

In the last year, 200,000 workers were paid less than the minimum wage. This is the highest figure since the introduction of the National Minimum Wage nearly 20 years ago.

According to HMRC, the sectors most likely to pay staff too little are social care, commercial warehousing and the gig economy.

Read more about the underpayment of national minimum wage.

Aviva is the first employer to announce six months full paid parental leave for all employees

Aviva has certainly raised the standard of family friendly treatment of its staff by introducing for all new mothers and fathers a period of six months' fully paid leave.

It is the first employer in the UK to make such a move and will offer the terms without regard to how the employee became a parent (including adoption or surrogacy).

Since the law changed in 2015, parents have been able to share 52 weeks of leave and be paid for 39 of those weeks at £140.38 per week. But, this change by Aviva means parents do not have to share the leave. If both parents work for Aviva, each has their own equal allowance.

Read more about this change to parental leave.

Government announces changes to the Apprenticeship Levy

Last week, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, said that the government is going to make some changes to the controversial Apprenticeship Levy to make it more flexible and better suited to meeting the skills gap as follows:

  • From April 2019, employers will be able to transfer a quarter of their annual apprenticeship levy fund to another business in their supply chain (since July employers have been able to transfer 10% to non-levy paying organisations)
  • The government will also invest an extra £5 million to help the Institute of Apprenticeships offer more training options to bridge some of the gaps
  • The government also said there will be greater investment in apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering and maths, but no specific details are available yet.

Read more about the changes to the Apprenticeship Levy.

New government proposals to support workers

The government has recently announced proposals to support workers including:

  • Introducing legislation to ensure that tips left for workers will go to them in full
  • Considering whether to create a duty on employers to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear in advertising
  • Requiring businesses with more than 250 staff to publish their parental leave and pay policies

Read the Government press release on the new proposals.

18% of firms to cut recruitment in event of a no deal Brexit

A survey of 2,500 UK firms has revealed that nearly one in five plan to cut their levels of recruitment in the event of a “no deal” Brexit. The research, conducted by the British Chambers of Commerce and Bibby Financial Services, found that 18% of those surveyed would reduce recruitment, 20% would move part or all of their business to the EU, and 21% would cut investment.

Home Secretary suggests auto-enrolment could be scrapped in a “no deal” Brexit

According to The Times newspaper, the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has suggested that automatic enrolment may need to be scrapped in the event of a “no deal” Brexit as an emergency measure to keep the economy “ticking over”.

Read more about auto-enrolment.

Key Contact

Shazia Khan