Government campaign has been launched to increase low paid workers knowledge of national minimum wage and national living wage

The Government has launched a nationwide campaign to increase low paid workers’ understanding of their rights around pay. The national advertising campaign – which will be carried on public transport, in shopping centres and other public places is being rolled out ahead of the Government’s National Minimum and National Living Wage rates rising on 1 April. It comes as a new poll for the Government shows many people in low paid work are confused about when they should be paid and what deductions from their pay packets can legally be made.

From 1 April the National Living Wage rate for those aged 25 and over will increase by 30p to £7.50 per hour. The National Minimum Wage rate will for 21 to 24 year olds will increase by 10p to £7.05 per hour, the rate for 18 to 20 year olds will increase by 5 to £5.60 per hour, the rate for 16 to 17 year old will increase by 5p to £4.05 per hour and the apprentice rate will increase by 10p to £3.50 per hour.

Annual increases in compensation payments

For dismissals occurring on or after 6 April 2017 the maximum compensatory award will rise to £80,541 (currently £78,962) and a week’s pay will increase to £489 (currently £479).

Acas publishes new guidance to help understand gig economy working and employment status rights

Acas has published new and updated guidance to help employers and their staff understand the many different types of employment arrangements that exist in the modern workplace and their legal entitlements. The revised guidance is released against the backdrop of Matthew Taylor’s review on modern workplaces and reflects changes to the way in which people work, are expected to work in the future, and follows recent legal cases about employment status. Acas Head of Guidance, Stewart Gee, said:

“We have seen changes in the way many people are working over recent years, with a heightened focus on gig economy working. Many businesses and their staff may not realise that a working person’s employment rights very much depends on their status. A person who is self-employed or defined as a worker is likely to have different legal rights to someone else who is considered an employee. We know that people find this a confusing area of the law so we have updated our advice to provide some clarity on the various different types of ways that people can work and the employment rights that they are entitled to.”

HMRC launches employment status determining tool

HMRC has launched its new status determining tool to see whether individuals on specific engagements fall into or outside IR35. The tool states that it provides a service to provide individuals with a view of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on whether the intermediaries legislation (known as IR35) applies to an engagement and whether a worker should pay tax through PAYE for an engagement. This service can be used for current or future engagements in the private or public sector.

Recent research on missed deadlines to publish a modern slavery transparency statement

According to research conducted by supply chain software provider Segura, a number of top UK retailers expected to publish Modern Slavery Act (MSA) statements have missed the recommended deadline to do so which is within 6 months of their financial year end. Segura has reported that of 34 retailers who should have produced statements on their websites by 31 January, 11 had failed to do so which included well known some well known brands.

The MSA statement should cover the efforts a business covered by the Act is taking to address the issues of slavery and human trafficking in their own business or their supply chains or state that they are taking no such steps and will be a continuing obligation each year. To find out more do go to our recent client webinar or check out whether your business may be affected by the Modern Slavery Act using our MSA assessment tool.

New regulatory reference regime for financial services sector now in force

A new regulatory reference regime for deposit takers and the largest investment firms (including UK banks, building societies and insurers) came into effect on 7 March. When recruiting senior managers and “certification employees” (generally, those capable of causing significant harm to the firm or customers, including customer-facing roles such as mortgage or investment advisors), affected businesses will now have to obtain references covering the last six years of all candidates’ employment history. Employers who are not themselves regulated may nevertheless find that there is an increase in reference requests expecting detailed information on employees who left some time ago. Satisfactory references must be obtained prior to employment.

Firms giving references are only obliged to disclose where a firm has concluded there has been a breach of conduct rules or that the candidate was not fit and proper to perform a function. Firms are not required to disclose that an employee has resigned while under investigation. In some circumstances, there is also a new continuing obligation on firms to update any references given for former employees in the last six years if the firm becomes aware of relevant information which means that the reference is no longer accurate. The updating requirement applies to any references provided since the regime came into force.

Although the regulatory reference rules apply at the moment only to those firms covered by the Senior Manager and Certification Regimes, the legislation is likely to be brought into force for all regulated firms in 2018. In the second half of 2017, the FCA and the PRA is expected to consult on how to apply the regime, including the regulatory references rules across the sector.