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Peter Etherington
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Employment Update for Small Businesses
November 2023

Dear Subscriber

The legal protections to address sexual harassment at work are to be strengthened, with more onus on employers and the need for them to take steps to prevent it occurring in the first place. That is the main topic of this month’s update.

But we would also like to take this opportunity to tell you about our wonderful new-look website, which has now launched. You may notice a different look to this update, which matches the website design. You will find lots of tips and resources on the site, including our guide to redundancy, which unfortunately has seen a rise in visitors recently.

Our thanks go to Steve Hawkins and his wonderful team at Caged Fish for their great work. We can highly recommend them.

Our thanks also to our fabulous clients, Dual Pumps Ltd and Pera Business Park, for taking part in the photo shoots that have played such a key part in enhancing the website, and to Shelley Costello Photography for her excellent work.

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.

Regards
Peter Etherington
Tel: 01664 668164

www.etherington.co.uk

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Peter Etherington
Sexual Harassment
New Protections for Workers
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 has passed into law and will take effect from October 2024.

Sexual harassment is already categorised as unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, and employers can be held to be vicariously liable for sexual harassment committed by their staff. However, this new legislation introduces a new specific duty on employers to take “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment occurring in the first place. It will not be enough to deal strongly with allegations of sexual harassment and to take swift action to address it, you will be required to take preventative action in anticipation of the possibility it could occur.

If an employer fails to take these reasonable steps, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) can take enforcement action against the employer. In addition, any successful claim for sexual harassment by an employee could see an uplift in compensation of up to 25% for a failure by the employer to take reasonable steps.

Employers have 12 months to prepare for this new law, and it is likely the EHRC will be producing a statutory code and updated guidance to support them. I expect the key measures that employers will need to consider will be to make sure their policies reflect the legal requirement and that they ensure staff are aware of the policies. It may also be sensible to undertake regular training for employees, or at least with management, to raise awareness and to help people intervene at an early stage to try to prevent sexual harassment occurring.

We will be supporting our retained clients with this change by updating their policies for them, undertaking training, and providing training materials for their own inhouse training. If you would like to find out more about our retained service, please contact us.

National Minimum and Living Wage
The current National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates are:

  • £10.42 per hour for workers aged 23 and over
  • £10.18 per hour for workers aged 21 to 22
  • £7.49 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20
  • £5.28 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £5.28 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.

www.etherington.co.uk

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