New National Living Wage to be Introduced in April 2016

In the budget last month, the Government announced that, from April 2016, a new national living wage of £7.20 an hour for the over 25s will be introduced. This will rise to over £9 an hour by 2020.

For the time being, every employee must be paid at least:

  Current rate (effective from 1 October 2014) Future rate (effective from 1 October 2015)
Main (adult) rate (workers aged 21 and over) £6.50 per hour £6.70 per hour
Development rate (workers aged 18-20 inclusive) £5.13 per hour £5.30 per hour
Rate for workers aged 16-17 inclusive £3.79 per hour £3.87 per hour
Apprentice rate £2.73 per hour £3.30 per hour
Accommodation offset £5.08 per day £5.35 per day

The Government is proposing to streamline the number of minimum wage rates and have a single minimum wage rate for apprentices and 16-17 year-olds. This would see an apprentices' wage rise from £2.73 to £3.79 an hour and potentially make apprenticeships a more financially attractive route for young people.

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Obsessive Email Checking Damaging Productivity Family Life

CARY COOPER CALLS ON HR TO SEND ‘URGENT MESSAGE’ TO WORKAHOLICS

Employees’ obsessive need to check emails out of working hours is having a detrimental effect on both productivity and family relationships, Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University told delegates at the British Psychological Society conference this week.

Britons work the longest hours Monday to Friday in the developed world, and “we’re most substantial user of technology than almost any other country,” he said, which was contributing to an already over-worked nation.

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New Statutory Rates

Redundancy
  • The maximum week's pay that can be taken into account rises from £464 to £475 from 6 April 2015
Maternity Pay
  • The rate of maternity, paternity pay and adoption pay increases from £138.18 per week to £139.58 per week.
Shared Parental Pay
  • Statutory shared parental pay is also set at £139.58 per week.
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Fathers Now Have Almost the Same Leave Rights As Mothers

What Is Shared Parental Leave?

For expectant parents with babies due on or after 5 April 2015 couples will be able to divide almost all of the traditional maternity leave entitlement between them. The right also applies to those adopting a child.

How much time can parents take off?

They effectively have a year – apart from a compulsory two-week recovery period after childbirth which the mother must take – and can divide the time between them in any combination.

In brief, the new right enables mothers/adopters to:
  • commit to ending their maternity/adoption leave and pay at a future date; and 
  • to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave and pay with their partner; or
  • to return to work early from maternity/adoption leave and opt in to shared parental leave and pay at a later date. 
Shared parental leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week. Individuals can request to take shared parental leave in one continuous block (in which case the Company is required to accept the request as long as the employee meets the eligibility and notice requirements), or as a number of discontinuous blocks of leave (in which case the employee needs the Company’s agreement). A maximum of three requests for leave per pregnancy/adoption can normally be made by each parent.

In addition to this new right, there will also be a number of other amendments to maternity, adoption, paternity and parental rights effective from the 5th April.  

Should you require any support relating to how this may affect your staff, please call us on 0131 27272769. 

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Time off work to attend spouse antenatal appointments

From 1 October 2014, a prospective father, or the spouse, civil partner or partner of a pregnant woman, can take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments.

The employee has a statutory right to take up to six and a half hours off for each appointment, but employers can decide to allow more time than this.

The employer cannot ask for evidence of the appointment but can ask the employee for a signed declaration (which could be in electronic form) confirming:

  • that he or she:
    • is the expectant mother's spouse, civil partner or partner, or
    • the child's father;
  • that the purpose of the time off is to accompany the expectant mother to an antenatal appointment;
  • that the appointment in question is made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse; and
  • the date and time of the appointment.

There is no right for the spouse or partner of a pregnant woman to take time off to attend an antenatal appointment before 1 October 2014.

 

 

Source: Reed2014

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Shared Parental Leave - What Does It Mean?

The Shared Parental Leave Regulations 2014 have now been laid before Parliament. They come into force on 1 December 2014 and apply in respect of babies expected to be born on or after 5 April 2015. This means that the first babies in relation to which employees can take shared parental leave have already been conceived. However, not everyone qualifies for shared parental leave; both parents need to have at least 26 weeks' service with their current employer and earn at least the minimum threshold needed to qualify for maternity allowance.

The basic idea is that the parents of a child (including adoptive parents) can decide how to divide a total of 52 weeks of leave between them. So, for example, the mother could decide to take just a few weeks' leave to recover from the birth (there is still a compulsory two-week maternity leave period immediately following childbirth), with the rest of the leave being taken by her partner.

An important feature of the new scheme is that the periods of shared parental leave do not have to be consecutive. The two parents can take leave at the same time, provided that the total amount of leave taken does not exceed 52 weeks.

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Right to Request Flexible Working Now Extended to All Staff

News from CIPD Announcing the Change to Legislation

More than 20 million workers will have the right to request flexible working arrangements from today, but according to some business groups, the changes mean extra red tape and will bring what the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) calls ‘negative dynamics’ into the workplace.

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New Statutory Rates from 6 April 2014

  • The weekly rate of payment for statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases to £138.18
  • The weekly lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions increases to £111.00
  • The weekly standard rate of statutory sick pay increases to £87.55.
  • The maximum amount of a week's pay for the purpose of calculating a redundancy payment is £464.00
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases to £76,574.00
  • The Immigration (Employment of Adults Subject to Immigration Control) (Maximum Penalty) (Amendment) Order 2014 comes into force, which increases the maximum civil penalty for employers to £20,000 for each illegal worker.
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Early Conciliation – Changes to Employment tribunal Claim Process

"Early conciliation" is introduced from 6 April 2014 on a voluntary basis, and will be mandatory from 6 May 2014 for most employment tribunal claims. From 6 May 2014 onwards, an employee will not be able to submit an employment tribunal claim without an "early conciliation certificate" showing that the claim has been submitted to the early conciliation process.

The Government has said that it hopes that early conciliation will encourage employees and employers to resolve disputes outside the employment tribunal system, saving them time and money (and reducing demand on employment tribunals).

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Magenta HR becomes Accredited Advisor for Government's Growth Vouchers Programme for start -ups and SME’s

Magenta HR is set to deliver strategic start-up advice as part of the Government’s £30m Growth Vouchers Programme.

Magenta HR is part of a new scheme that aims to help start-ups and SMEs to take on board advice at an early stage via a purpose-built marketplace. The new Growth Vouchers scheme offers advice and guidance to businesses taking part and subsidies of up to £2,000 towards the cost of that advice to successful applicants. The programme will then monitor SME performance over the coming years in order to assess the impact that advice has had.

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E-cigarettes prompt further transparent policy requirements for employers as "smoking" at work definition becomes blurred....

New policy requirements as employers consider how the use of E-cigarrettes can be managed in the workplace. Click on the link to read full article...

Using E-cigarettes in the workplace

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Government Initiative to reduce Sickness

The Health and Work Service, which will cover England, Wales and Scotland, will offer non-compulsory medical assessments and treatment plans BBC News reports. Click on the link to read the full article. 

New Health and Work Service to be offered

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Night work 'throws body into chaos' claims research.

The BBC has reported today that working night shift throws the body "into chaos" and could cause long-term damage, warn researchers.

Shift work has been linked to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, heart attacks and cancer.Now scientists at the Sleep Research Centre in Surrey have uncovered the disruption shift work causes at the deepest molecular level. Experts said the scale, speed and severity of damage caused by being awake at night was a surprise. The human body has its own natural rhythm or body clock tuned to sleep at night and be active during the day.It has profound effects on the body, altering everything from hormones and body temperature to athletic ability, mood and brain function.

For the full article see link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25812422

What can we do to get shift work right?

According to the Health and Safety Executive, there are many paprameters we can put in place to ensure risk is minimised. A good start is to take a risk assessment approach to managing fatigue and shift work, and the HSE guidance on this approach is simple and accessible (HSE, 2006): avoid over-complicating things.

The social and domestic side of working shifts is a vital part of getting things right (HSE 2006; Miller 2006), and a predictable shift pattern at least allows those working it - along with their families - to make plans to mitigate the loss of normal social and domestic contact caused by working shifts. Patterns that result in ad hoc working to fill gaps, cover overtime and so on are inherently unpredictable.

A good shift system and shift pattern will be one that has less "noise", in the sense that it will work quietly and not create undue management, supervisory or user difficulties. But nothing remains constant, so any pattern will need effective monitoring and auditing, as well as regular review against operating experience, which will help with improving standards and knowledge.

For more information, go to HSE shift work guidance

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How to Handle Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Following the surprising story of former Co-op Bank chairman, Paul Flowers, being ‘filmed buying drugs’, how should employers handle these scenarios to minimise risk to their business, employees and their reputation?

Alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace is an issue for many employers. Not only does it impact on working days being lost, it can also have major consequences on health and safety matters, not to mention the reputation of the business.  There is also the welfare of staff to consider.

Ideally, employers should aim to identify employees with dependency problems and with the support of an occupational health physician and/or GP, appropriate diagnosis can be sought and support offered to help the individual with their rehabilitation.

Where alcohol or drug abuse affects an employee's performance, conduct or attendance record and either he or she has refused the opportunity to seek help or, having accepted counselling and treatment, the same issues remain, it may result in his or her dismissal on the grounds of either conduct or capability.

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Happiness at Work

Ashlie Turner  talks to Frank Galbraith of The Scotsman about what makes us happy at work...Scotsman feature with Magenta HR

 

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Dress to Impress - What to Wear and What Not to Wear at Interviews

Scotsman article featuring Magenta HR advising how to get the dress code right for those important job interviews. Scotsman article 18 October 2013

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Auto-enrolment Pensions…One Year On….

It is one year since employers started auto-enrolling staff into pension schemes and today companies with between 800 and 1,249 employees will enroll anyone who do not already have a pension into a workplace scheme.

In the same week, a survey by the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) found that fewer people than expected are opting out of these new workplace pensions. According to the Nest research, only 9 per cent of employees chose to leave pension schemes after being automatically enrolled. This is much lower than the government’s prediction that as many as a third would opt out.

To mark the anniversary of the scheme Nest has launched its five dos and don’t for employers preparing to auto-enroll staff:

Employer do's

1.    Plan early – don’t underestimate how long it will take, talk to your payroll and other providers as soon as possible.

2.    Assess your workforce to understand which of your workers are affected.

3.    Communicate with staff clearly and early; engage and involve. Have a communication plan and involve all relevant departments in your business.

4.    Examine systems (particularly payroll) to ensure they are ready and capable.

5.    You may want help - you may want guidance from experts/external advisors.

Employer don’ts (employers who have been through the process warn ‘don’t make these assumptions’)

1.    ‘Once we’ve chosen the pension provider everything will be done for us’

2.    ‘There’ll be a lot of work leading up to the deadline but then our work is done’

3.    ‘We have to offer a pension to all staff’

4.    ‘It’s like the stakeholder pensions. Most people will opt out’

5.    ‘Our payroll provider will tell us what we need to do with regards payroll’

Tim Jones, chief executive of  Nest, said: “Auto-enrolment has brought a radical change to workplace pensions, but it will rapidly become the new normal. While the early stages have primarily affected large employers, the numbers of employers coming under the duties increase dramatically in the next few months. We all have to up the pace to be prepared for much higher volumes and to meet the challenges implementing automatic enrolment brings.

“Nest is already working with more than 1,000 employers for automatic enrolment. Our insights into their experiences have enabled us to develop some really useful dos and don’ts for employers still to go through the automatic-enrolment experience.”

For information visit http://www.nestpensions.org.uk/schemeweb/NestWeb/public/NESTforEmployers/contents/nest-for-employers.html

CIPD Article 1 October 2013

 

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National Minimum Wage Rates from 1st October 2013

Ensure you are complying with the new national minimum wage rates payable to adult and young workers...

Class of workers

Effective fromRate
Main (adult) rate for workers aged 21 and over 1 October 2013 £6.31 per hour
Development rate for workers aged 18-20 inclusive 1 October 2013 £5.03 per hour
Rate for workers aged 16-17 inclusive 1 October 2013 £3.72 per hour
Rate for apprentices who are under 19 or aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship 1 October 2013 £2.68 per hour

 

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Promoting Happiness in the Workplace Makes Commercial Sense....

According to Prof Scollon, a psychologist: “Research shows that happy people earn more money, are healthier (spend fewer days out of the office sick) and are more creative at problem solving.” This means promoting happiness in the company makes commercial sense “even if you’re a total Scrooge and only care about making money”, she adds. Click here to read Della Bradshaw's feature of the week in the FT 

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Mediation Trial as Part of Reform Initiative

A mediation network has been launched in Manchester and Cambridge by the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS), as part of a reform initiative around the employment tribunal system. The cities will trial the scheme for a full year before the Government looks at rolling it out nationally.

The project has been put forward as a means to reduce the number of cases taken to an employment tribunal and has come at a time when the number of tribunal cases submitted are increasing significnatly. 218,000 tribunal cases were raised in the UK in 2011, a 44% rise from 2008/9. The average spend on defence claims for businesses is around £4,000.

Norman Lamb, Employment Relations Minister, commented: “We know that sometimes workplace disputes are unavoidable, and that those involved see no alternative except an employment tribunal. We want to promote alternative resolution options and we’re committed to encouraging parties to find other ways of resolving their problems. The use of mediation is one such way and this is why we’ve launched the BIS regional mediation initiative. This scheme will offer small businesses in Manchester the opportunity to experience mediation and discover the financial and psychological benefits.

See our mediation page for further details on how the service can help solve workplace disputes. 

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Magenta HR Consulting Limited
The Annex, 15 Chamberlain Road, Edinburgh EH10 4DJ 

Tel.  0131 285 4000

Registered in Scotland Company No. 379644
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