An overview of what legislative changes to expect and prepare for this coming October:

National Minimum Wage

The main rate of the National Minimum Wage will increase from £5.52 per hour to £5.73 per hour, the rate paid to workers between 18 and 21 from £4.60 to £4.77 and the rate for workers aged below 18 who have ceased to be of compulsory school age from £3.40 to £3.53. The accommodation rate is increased from £4.30 to £4.46 a day (1st October).

The National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Directors’ Duties

Various sections of the Companies Act 2006 will come into force: general duties of Directors regarding conflicts of interest; and declaration by a Director of an interest in an existing transaction or arrangement (1st October).

Sections 175 to 177, 180(1), (2)(in part) and (4) and 181(2) and (3) and Sections 182 to 187 respectively, Companies Act 2006.

Employer’s liability insurance

Employers will no longer be required to retain their employer’s liability insurance certificate for 40 years. Also employers may make the certificate available electronically, rather than having to display it, provided it is made reasonably accessible to relevant employees. (1st October).

Employer’s Liability (Compulsory Insurance)(Amendment) Regulations 2008

Maternity and Adoption Leave

Employees whose babies are expected to be born on or after 5th October 2008 will have the right to the same terms and conditions of employment during Additional Maternity Leave (AML) and Additional Adoption Leave (AAL), as during Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and Ordinary Adoption Leave (OAL). Employers will therefore be required to provide all contractual benefits other than pay, throughout OML and AML, including the right to accrue holiday pay as specified in their contract. There is an exception in relation to pensions and other employment related benefit schemes which are only payable during any period of paid maternity or adoption leave (which currently comprises all of OML and the first thirteen weeks of AML).

Maternity and Parental Leave etc and the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Sex Discrimination

Employees whose babies are expected to be born on or after 5th October 2008 have the same rights not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sex during both OML and AML. Regulations amending the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 eliminate the distinction between OML and AML in this respect.

Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Agency workers

Agency workers on fixed term contracts of less than three months will be entitled to statutory sick pay in the same way as other workers. (27th October).

Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Points based immigration (Tiers 2 and 5)

Tier 2 (skilled migrants with offers of employment coming to the UK to fill a gap in the UK labour market) and Tier 5 (migrants travelling temporarily to the UK primarily for non-economic reasons eg workers to be employed in charitable undertakings) of the points-based immigration system come into force on 1st November 2008. Employers are required to hold a sponsor licence to employ these skilled or temporary workers from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland. (1st November).

Click here to view UK Border Agency Codes of Practice and revised Guidance for Employers.