Reclassification of colleges by Office of National Statistics has major implications for FE sector
The ONS has
reclassified FE colleges, sixth form colleges and other institutions in England. They will now be treated as public sector bodies – not private employers. The Department for Education has set out its response which suggests that the government will:
Invest £300 million of payments before the end of the current financial year to eliminate the current deficit in funding and ‘move to a profile of funding which better matches needs, recognising the challenging environment the sector faces’
Provide an additional £150 million of capital grant funding in 2023 to 2024 to support and protect colleges planning to invest in their infrastructure and estate, where previously they would have borrowed from commercial lenders
Allow colleges to retain flexibility on using surpluses and sale of assets, while complying with the managing public money framework
Commit to work in partnership with the sector to develop the future approach to financial reporting, and a new college handbook.
The Association of Colleges has raised a number of issues it wants the government to answer. Julian Gravatt, its deputy chief executive, has recorded a helpful blog you can access
We’re considering the HR/employment implications of this decision and will prepared detailed advice as soon as we can.
New National Minimum Wage rates from April 2023 announced
The government has announced substantial increases to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage in line with the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission.
The new rates, which apply from April 2023, are as follows:
Rate for people aged 23 and over - £10.42 per hour (a 9.7% uplift from the current rate of £9.50)
Rate for 21-22 year olds - £10.18 an hour (a 10.9% uplift from the current rate of £9.18)
Rate for 18-20 year olds - £7.49 an hour (a 9.7% uplift from the current rate of £6.83)
Rate for 16-17 year olds - £5.28 an hour (a 9.7% uplift from the current rate of £4.81)
Apprentice rate - £5.28 an hour (9.7% uplift from the current rate of £4.81)
Accommodation offset - £9.10 (a 4.6% uplift from the current rate of £8.70).
Supreme Court to hear bid to protect striking workers
The Supreme Court will hear arguments from UNISON, the UK’s largest union, that a recent Court of Appeal decision unfairly allows employers to punish striking workers. The case of Mercer v Alternative Future Group Ltd will be heard sometime next year.
Workers can’t be fired for taking part in industrial action, but that protection expires after 12 weeks. The Court of Appeal said that there’s a legislative gap in other protection available to employees taking industrial action. The union argue that this enables ‘unscrupulous employers’ to subject striking workers to detriments (such as withdrawing discretionary benefits) to try and deter them from going on strike.
The outcome of this case could have important ramifications – particularly as we’re seeing waves of new strike action across a number of sectors.
Government publish study looking at impact of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill
impact assessment indicates that there are over 2,400 pieces of EU law to go through, and sets out those which have the largest scope for change. These include health and safety rules – but not other employment rights.
The government has said that it will prioritise reforms which have the ‘greatest potential to drive growth’ and it doesn’t look as though these include employment. But, it’s not yet clear what the government intends to do about the huge amount of EU derived legislation which has influenced workers’ rights, which will fall off a cliff at the end of 2023 unless it takes steps to preserve these rights. You can read our views on the Bill
here. Acas publishes survey results on the important reasons for staying within a job
published the results from its new survey, commissioned by YouGov, which asked employees to list the three most important things keeping them in their current main job. The survey revealed that job security, competitive pay, flexible working and relationships with colleagues are the top reasons given by employees for choosing to remain in their current jobs. New draft guidance on workplace monitoring
The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a
consultation on draft guidance on monitoring at work to help employers understand the law and adopt good practice. It’s asking for feedback on this document and any other insights from stakeholders by Wednesday 11 January 2023. New draft guidance on using artificial intelligence and personal data
The Information Commissioner’s Office has
published guidance and frequently asked questions on using artificial intelligence (AI) and personal data appropriately and lawfully. New consultation on data protection of workers’ health
The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a
consultation on its draft guidance on information about workers’ health. The document aims to provide practical guidance on how to handle workers’ health information in accordance with data protection legislation and how to promote good practice. It's asking for feedback on the document until 5pm on Thursday 26 January 2023. Extra bank holiday announced to celebration the King’s coronation
The Prime Minister's Office has
announced that an additional bank holiday on Monday 8 May 2023, in honour of the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on Saturday 6 May 2023. ONS releases gender pay gap statistics for 2022
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published
annual statistics for the differences in pay between men and women in the UK for 2022. The data shows the differences by age, region, occupation and full-time or part-time work.
The gender pay gap in April 2022 was 8.3%, up 1.2% from the pay gap at the same time in 2021. There remains a large difference in the gender pay gaps when comparing employees aged over 40 and those aged under 40.
Business Disability Forum publishes sight loss toolkit including guidance for employers
The Business Disability Forum has
published a Sight Loss Toolkit which includes guidance for employers, healthcare professionals, businesses, people with sight loss, and their friends and family. The Sight Loss Toolkit aims to remove barriers to accessing healthcare, finding work, and getting around by increasing the understanding of sight loss.
Read more – December 2022
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