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Peter Etherington
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Employment Update for Small Businesses
September 2019

Dear Subscriber

As we all face the fact that summer is coming to an end and that Autumn is just about upon us, I thought I would add to the gloom by telling you about some forthcoming changes that we may see in employment law, that could have a significant impact on some employers!
Please contact me if you would like to find out a bit more about any of the subjects raised in this update or if you need any help or advice.

Please forward this email to any of your contacts who might find it of benefit.

Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164


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Peter Etherington
Government Proposals
New Rights: Zero Hours Workers, Women on Maternity & New Parents
A number of Government consultations have recently concluded or will conclude shortly, that could lead to some fairly significant changes to employment law, and I have set out the most relevant ones here. However, currently there are no timescales for their introduction and with the current furore over Brexit, I can’t help but wonder whether these matters will take a back seat for a while!

Right to notice of work schedules

Consultation is ongoing over plans to introduce a right for workers to receive reasonable notice of their work schedule. This is clearly aimed at those on zero hours contracts and other flexible working arrangements who may struggle to plan when their employer arranges shifts at late notice. The consultation will take into account views of what would be considered reasonable in terms of notice, and gauge how much support generally there is for this entitlement.

It is proposed also to introduce penalties for an employer’s failure to provide adequate notice.

Compensation for cancelled or curtailed shifts

The same consultation document also covers a proposal to introduce compensation for workers when their employer cancels or cuts a shift short at short notice. The level of compensation is subject to consultation as well, with proposals including the level of pay they would otherwise have received or the relevant National Minimum Wage rate (see below) for the hours missed.

Redundancy protection for those on maternity to be extended

Currently women on maternity leave must be offered any suitable alternative role if their role faces redundancy. Following a recent consultation the Government now proposes to extend this protection to cover the period of 6 months after the woman returns to work.

This does not mean the employees cannot be made redundant, but employers will need to be careful to ensure any redundancy procedure is carried out fairly, and they must be mindful of this specific protection for those on maternity or who have recently returned from maternity leave.

There is no date yet set for this protection to come into force and we will update you once that has been determined.

Neonatal leave and pay

A further Government consultation is considering the introduction of statutory neonatal leave and pay for parents whose newborn needs to spend time in hospital immediately after the birth. Whilst maternity, paternity and shared parental leave can cover this time off, it is argued that this leaves less time for parents to take time off with the baby outside a medical environment.

Other consultations related to families include a review of parental leave and pay, and proposals to make employers take a more proactive approach to offering flexible working.

Our retained clients are able to rest assured that these changes will be taken into account in due course, with new policies being drawn up to cover them off, as part of our service. If you are concerned about keeping your HR documents up to date, why not contact us and take advantage of our free initial consultation.

National Minimum and Living Wage Rate​s
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • £8.21 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
  • £7.70 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24
  • £6.15 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £4.35 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £3.90 per hour for apprentices under 19 and those over 19 in their first year*

*N.B. Apprentices over 19 and who have completed at least one year are entitled to the appropriate rate for their age.