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The autumnal employment law six-point checklist

Every autumn employers need to prepare for new employment law changes, this autumn is no different. Given that the new legal changes commence tomorrow, I thought I will set out a quick check list for you. 

1. National minimum wage increases

The national minimum wage hourly rate increase from £6.50 to £6.70 for adults from 1 October. The rates also increase for young workers and apprentices. Please do refer to our rates table

2. Referrals under the new Fit for Work service

Under the Government’s new Fit for Work service (FFW) employers will soon be able to refer an employee for a free occupational health assessment when the employee has been absent from work for at least four weeks. Occupational health advice can be obtained through the FFW website and telephone helpline. This service aims is to assist employees return to work following a sickness absence.

3. Ban on smoking in cars with children

Under the smoke-free legislation, company vehicles must be smoke free unless the vehicle is mainly used for an employee’s private purposes. However from tomorrow, drivers of private cars in England will be breaking the law and could be fined when lighting up in a car with a child under 18 present.

If your employees use company cars for family purposes, they will be affected by the new law. Therefore you will need to consider revising your smoking and company car policies.

4. Sikh safety helmet exemption extended to all workplaces

The Deregulation Act 2015 amends s.11 of the Employment Act 1989 (exemption of Sikhs from requirements as to wearing of safety helmets on construction sites) to exempt Sikhs wearing turbans from having to wear a safety helmet at any workplace. 

However, there are some limited cases where Sikh workers will still need to wear head protection, but these restrictions are mainly reserved for those working in emergency response situations or are members of the armed forces. 

5. Tribunals lose their power to make wider recommendations

From tomorrow, tribunals no longer have any power to make recommendations that go beyond an employee’s own circumstances in a discrimination claim. Although, this power to make recommendations for the benefit of a wider workforce was rarely used in practice

6. Modern slavery statements

Despite slavery being abolished in the 19th century, modern slavery still exists in the form of servitude, human trafficking or forced or compulsory labour. Therefore, from tomorrow employers with an annual turnover of £36 million or more will have to publish a modern slavery statement each year. The statement will need to include the steps these employers have taken to prevent modern slavery existing in any part of their business or supply chain.

However, the government has yet to publish guidance on the new employment law change. For the time being though, businesses to prepare and should check their supply chains, operational structures and risk management processes to ensure that they are ready.

As always, if I can provide you with any further assistance in relation to any of the changes that are coming into force tomorrow or any other employment law matter please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation on 0113 350 4030 or samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.

Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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