The changes to the national minimum wage announced by the Government this year came into force on 1 October 2008.
- For workers aged 22 and over, the minimum rate will go up from £5.52 an hour to £5.73 per hour;
- Workers aged 18-21 will be entitled to £4.77 an hour (previously £4.60 per hour); and
- The new minimum rate for workers aged 16-17 is £3.53 an hour (previously £3.40 per hour).
Distinction between ordinary and additional maternity leave to be removed
Women whose expected week of childbirth begins on or after 5 October will have the right to the same terms and conditions during the additional maternity leave (AML) (the second 26 weeks) as they were entitled to during ordinary maternity leave (OML) (the first 26 weeks). This means that employees on maternity leave who currently receive benefits such as company cars, gym membership, health insurance etc during OML should continue to receive them during AML. Employers who currently discount periods of AML for the purposes of accruing contractual annual leave or for assessing seniority may also face claims of unlawful discrimination.