We round up the latest employment news.
New statutory rates will apply from April 2020
The government has recently announced that rates for statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave pay, and maternity allowance will increase to £151.20 per week. Any employee earning less than this will continue to receive 90% of their average weekly earnings.
These rates usually take effect on the first Sunday of April, which this year is 5 April. Also, from 6 April, the statutory sick pay rate will increase to £95.85 per week.
Migration Advisory Committee recommends that post-Brexit salary threshold should be reduced to £25,600
The Migration Advisory Committee has urged the government to
reduce the salary threshold for skilled immigrants with a job offer to work in the UK from its current level of £30,000.
The government hasn’t yet responded.
Sexual harassment victims asked to share their stories
The Government Equalities Office has launched a
survey seeking the views of sexual harassment victims on laws designed to protect them.
The survey will go out to 12,200 people ‘from all walks of life’ and is designed to build a picture of how many people are affected, whether they were sexually harassed inside or outside of work and details of the harassment they suffered.
The survey is part of a series of commitments to tackle sexual harassment at work. This includes a new statutory Code of Practice to help employers understand their legal responsibilities, and a consultation on new plans to tackle harassment at work including giving explicit legal protections to workers, such as waiters and shop assistants, against harassment from customers.
Information Commissioner amends guidance for complying with data subject access requests (DSAR)
The Information Commissioner’s office has amended its
General Data Protection Regulation: Right of access guidance. The change relates to the timescale for complying with a data subject access request where the controller asks for clarification.
The start of the one month time period for compliance can’t be paused, even where the data controller needs more information to enable them to respond. Similarly, the extended timescale for responding to complex or multiple DSARs can’t be paused.
This is an important change from the guidance published in 2018.
New Bill seeks to give women the right to know how much their male colleagues are paid
The House of Lords has introduced the
Equal Pay Bill which, if passed, will give women who suspect they’re not getting equal pay the ‘right to know’ what a male colleague doing the same work is paid. As currently drafted, employers will only have 20 working days to respond to a request for information about a comparator’s pay and other terms. If they don’t provide it, they can be debarred from defending a subsequent equal pay claim.
The Bill is supported by The
Fawcett Society, whose research indicates that four in 10 aren't aware that they have a right to equal pay for work of equal value.
The Bill will have to be supported by the House of Commons before it can become law. Even if the Bill becomes law, many of its provisions will be set out in separate regulations.
New Bill seeks to ban unpaid work experience
The House of Lords has made a further attempt to prevent employers from exploiting individuals seeking work experience. It’s introduced the
Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) Bill, which if passed, will mean that anyone who undertakes work experience for four weeks must receive the appropriate national minimum wage rate for their age.
The Bill has a long way to go before it becomes law. At the moment, it’s only had its first reading in the Lords.
similar Bill was introduced in 2017 but, that failed due to lack of time. New report suggests tougher penalties needed to deter employers from underpaying staff
Research published by the Resolution Foundation indicates that there’s been an increase in the number of businesses underpaying the national minimum wage over the last two years, and that over 85% of them are getting away with it.
It anticipates that more workers will be underpaid as rates increase putting additional pressure on businesses that pay at or near the wage floor.
To avoid this, it recommends that the government:
Introduces a single enforcement agency to improve intelligence sharing which will increase the chance of catching underpaying businesses
Increases the penalties HMRC can impose and include a scale so that higher value breaches, or repeat offenders pay more
Makes more use of criminal prosecutions and director disqualifications (only 14 businesses have been prosecuted for non-payment over the last 20 years)
Ensures that employment tribunals impose penalties for noncompliance.
To find out more, click
here. Aldi increases minimum pay for 33,000 employees to exceed real living wage
Employee Benefits, supermarket chain Aldi has increased hourly pay rates for its 33,000 employees.
From 1 February 2020, Aldi’s employees will earn a minimum hourly rate of £9.40, and £10.90 inside the M25.
Aldi’s new pay rates exceed the recommended real living wage rates of £9.30 nationally and £10.75 in London, set in November 2019. Aldi is also one of the few UK supermarkets that pay staff during their scheduled breaks.
The pay increases also include a rise to £10.41 for employees who’ve worked at Aldi for three or more years, while those working in London will receive £11.15 after two years of service.
Co-op – latest supermarket to face equal pay claims
400 employees have launched an equal pay claim against the Co-op supermarket chain.
The Co-op shop workers, mostly women, say they are being underpaid compared with warehouse workers, who are mostly men.
Staff from Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s have all brought similar claims.
Extra holiday given to non-smoking staff
Swindon recruitment agency has recently introduced a scheme to incentivise staff to stop smoking. All non-smoking staff will get an additional four days’ holiday to compensate for paid smoking breaks staff take in addition to their formal rest breaks. The managing director says that the policy is supported by smokers and non-smokers. Read more – February 2020
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