The national minimum wage is expected to increase as of the 1st October 2010 to £5.93 for workers aged 21+ (and not 22 as previously set), £4.92 for workers aged 18+ and £3.64 for workers aged 16 and 17.
Apprentices are currently not liable for the national minimum wage, however, this will change as of next month (Oct 2010) when a new Apprentice Rate of £2.50 per hour will be introduced, for those who are under 19 or 19 and in their initial year of their apprenticeship.
Equity Act 2010
The Equity Act has also made changes; making things a lot simpler by bringing together existing discrimination legislation to supply a more straightforward and consistent legal framework to aid discrimination prevention.
The initial part of the Act will begin next month (Oct 2010) with additional elements of the Act due to come into force next April (2011).
The Act will state that it is against the law to limit employees discussing their pay, which can make any terms in a contract of employment that need pay confidentiality, unenforceable. However, the benefits of this means that you can still maintain that pay rates are kept confidential from individuals outside of the company, such as any competitors.
In addition to this, there have also been changes with disability discrimination. The main changes being implemented next month are: improving protection from discrimination for individuals who appear to have, or are linked to someone who has a protected trait; preventing employers from asking questions about a candidate’s health prior to a job offer.
The Bribery Act 2010
The Bribery Act has introduced a business offence of failure to prevent bribery by those who are working on behalf of a company; a business will have a defence if it can demonstrate that it has certain procedures in place to stop bribery, for instance set guidelines and policies.
The consequence of breaching the Act will be an unlimited fine and a maximum of 10 years in prison for a person who has either given or received a bribe. Therefore you should consider reviewing your policies and procedures now, before the changes are implemented next year (April 2011).
The default retirement age will begin to be phased out as of next April (2011), the current retirement process will still apply to those workers whose retirement age dates fall before October 2011, however, you will need to have informed them of this prior to April 2011.
Government talks are due to finish on the 21st Oct 2010, so by that time we should have a better understanding of what changes will be put in place and the steps we will need to take come April 2011.
Extended paternity leave may also be on the cards. It seems that the government are thinking of shelving, or at least rewriting the Additional Paternity Leave Legislation which is about to take affect for babies due on or following the 3rd April 2011.