Augustine Clement

 From 1st October the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/1894 raise the rate per hour for workers aged 22 and over from GBP 5.52 to GBP 5.73; for workers aged 18 to 21, the rate rises from GBP 4.60 to GBP 4.77; and for workers aged under 18 who have ceased to be of compulsory school age, the rate rises from GBP 3.40 to GBP 3.53.

Things to do: Check your payroll management systems to ensure that it takes into account the new NMW rates, as non-compliance may have criminal consequences.  Equally important is the need to re-calculate SMP, if the increase falls within the reference period for the calculation of SMP or during the period of receipt of SMP.

·The Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/1765 also come into force on 1 October. The changes mean that employers no longer have to keep their liability insurance certificates for 40 years, nor display certificates at each place of business, provided the certificate is available to the relevant employees electronically.

Things to do:  If you are minded to put the certificates on the intranet, you will need to ensure that all employees have access to the intranet.  This may be impracticable where employees are located off site.

·The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Amendment) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/656 give women the right to the same terms and conditions during additional maternity leave as during ordinary maternity leave. Consequential amendments are made by the Maternity and Parental Leave etc and the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/1966, which also make similar changes in respect of adoption leave. The new rules apply in respect of employees whose expected week of childbirth begins on or after 5 October, or with whom a child is expected to be placed for adoption on or after that date.

Things to do: This change makes the dichotomy between ordinary maternity leave and the additional maternity leave of no practical importance. 

·The draft Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 will give workers employed under a fixed-term contract the right to statutory sick pay from 27 October 2008.

Things to do: This will have some cost implications for employer and recruitment agency, especially in the healthcare sector where bank staff are prevalent.  It has always been the case that employers have argued successfully at the Revenue Tribunals that bank staff are not employees and therefore not entitled to SSP.

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