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Archive for October, 2012

Equal Pay claims – ruling from the Supreme Court

Monday, October 29th, 2012

For individuals making an equal pay claim, the time limit for making a claim in an Employment Tribunal is six months from the end of their employment.

However the Supreme Court has ruled that equal pay claims brought in the High Court more than six months after the end of the claimants’ employment (which would have been out of time in an employment tribunal) should not be struck out.

The rationale behind this is that it is not unusual for individuals to find out, well after their employment ceases, that former colleagues in similar roles to the ones they held, have been successful with equal pay claims or have received equal pay settlements. Only then might those individuals realise that they too could have valid equal pay complaints against their former employer; too late to issue tribunal proceedings. The Supreme Court’s decision, confirming that such individuals will be able to pursue their former employers in the civil courts, could lead to a large number of claims.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have a Statutory Code of Conduct on Equal Pay. The code is available from the EHRC website and gives guidance on the law and good practice for both small and large employers.

It’s write a will week. Do you have one?

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Research released this week shows that 58% of UK adults don’t have a will*. And almost a third of those said they’d make one when they ‘get older’*. When you consider over a third of Bright Grey’s life cover claims were for people under 50**, putting off making a will until later could be a huge mistake.

Despite less than half of the population having a will in place, 74% say they would want to leave their money to their loved ones*. Without the right plans in place, this might not happen, and your clients’ children could be left vulnerable.

If you don’t have a will or want to know if your current will is going to leave your assets distributed as per your wishes, speak to one of our asset protections consultants who are happy to help.

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Sources: *unbiased.co.uk, October 2012. **Bright Grey claims statistics, 1 January – 30 June 2012.

Red tape loosened for small business.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

From 1 October 2012, many small businesses and small live music venues will be freed from the burdens of unnecessary red tape.

Dozens of regulations will be removed or simplified, giving businesses more freedom to grow.

Changes include:

Removing regulatory burdens from hundreds of venues including pubs and clubs, making it easier for them to stage live music. Live unamplified music performed in any location, and live amplified music in on-licensed premises and workplaces for audiences of up to 200 people will no longer need a specific licence between 8am and 11pm.

Giving more small businesses the flexibility to decide whether or not their company accounts should be audited and greater freedom for firms to determine the most appropriate set of accounting rules for them.

If you require more information regarding HR and Legal Services please contact us.

 

Removing legislation that dictates the precise location and design of no smoking signs in workplaces.

Stakeholder pension designation requirements repealed on 1 October 2012

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Pension auto enrollment kicked in for the largest companies on 1 October. The requirement on a UK employer employing five or more employees to designate and facilitate access to a stakeholder pension scheme has been abolished as part of the same legislation.

Transitional provisions allow an employer to continue deducting contributions from the salary of an employee who is an existing member of a stakeholder scheme after 1 October 2012. If an existing member asks his employer to stop the deductions, the employer must tell the employee that it is no longer required by law to deduct contributions and pay these to the scheme on his behalf, but that the employee can still make payments directly to the scheme, provided this is permitted by the scheme rules.

The repeal of the stakeholder requirements has not been aligned with the staging timetable for the new auto-enrolment duties, which do not affect the smallest companies until 2017. The effect of this is that an employer will no longer be obliged to provide access to a pension scheme until it becomes subject to the duty to auto-enrol its eligible jobholders under the legislation staging process.

National Minimum Wage (NMW) – what you should know.

Friday, October 5th, 2012

It is that time of year again when the NMW is up for review.  From 1 October 2012 the rates will be as follows:

  •  The standard adult rate (workers aged 21 and over) will be £6.19.
  •  The development rate (workers aged between 18 and 20) will be £4.98 (unchanged from last year).
  •  The young workers rate (workers aged under 18 but above the compulsory school age who are not apprentices) will be £3.68 (unchanged from last year).
  • The rate for apprentices will be £2.65.

From 1 October 2012, the accommodation offset will be £4.82 each day.

As a reminder that the Government takes enforcement seriously we can report that Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations, has publicly named Rita Patel, a Leicester hair and beauty salon owner, for failing to pay £3,361.22 in NMW to a former worker following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC enforced the debt through the courts.

Government argues that bad publicity is a deterrent for an employer who would otherwise be tempted not to pay the NMW.

The Dept for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) introduced a scheme to name employers who flout minimum wage law on 1 January 2011; Mrs Patel is the first employer to be named.

An employer must meet one of seven criteria to be named. The criteria are that there is evidence that the employer:

  • knowingly or deliberately failed to comply with their NMW obligations
  • previously received advice from HMRC about the steps they need to take to ensure future compliance with NMW which they have not complied with
  • failed to take adequate steps to keep or preserve NMW records
  • delayed or obstructed a NMW compliance officer in the performance of their duties
  • refused or neglected to answer a NMW compliance officer’s questions
  • refused or neglected to provide information or produce documents to a NMW compliance officer, or
  • refused or neglected to pay arrears of the NMW to workers, following HMRC intervention, which has resulted in HMRC taking action against the employer to ensure payment of arrears to workers.

HMRC will not refer cases to BIS unless the total arrears owed to workers are at least £2, 000 and the average arrears per worker are at least £500.