National Minimum Wage Increase

As of 1 October 2016 the National Minimum Wage will have increased for 21 – 24 year olds to £6.95 per hour, for 18 – 20 year olds it will be £5.55 per hour and for under 18 years of age £4.00 per hour. The minimum wage for an apprentice will increase to £3.40 per hour.

The National Living Wage remains the same and is set to change every April. For more information please contact one of our Employment Specialists on 01530 835041 or alternatively please e-mail ahaggerty@josiahhincks.co.uk

Construction Site Managers Beware?

Birmingham Crown Court this July decided a case of gross negligence manslaughter and breach of health and safety.

In January 2015 a father of 2, working on a building site in Leicester, fell through an open skylight on the first floor on to the flat floor below and suffered fatal injuries to his head.

After this incident the HSE visited the site a couple of days after to undertake an investigation into the incident.

The HSE issued a prohibition notice upon the site manager to ensure that no further work should take place at height. Despite this notice the site manager allowed work to continue and he was arrested and charged with gross negligence.

The site manager was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence. When sentencing Mr Justice John Saunders commented: “It seems the defendant had no idea of the responsibilities he had for maintaining the safety of the site. The defendant paid no regard to health and safety requirements whatsoever.”

The sentence passed upon the site manager was 2 ½ years for gross negligence manslaughter and 8 months for the breaches of health and safety which took place on the site.

This is a real concern for any employer because those in positions of responsibility for staff must have had the relevant training to perform their role and ensure that staff are provided with a safe and secure environment to work within.

Josiah Hincks can help employers and senior manager maintain a healthy and safe work place and ensure that policies are in place to protect Companies from facing criminal charges.

For more information, please contact us on 01530 835 041 or at ahaggerty@josiahhincks.co.uk

 

Pay Secrecy – What Can Employers Do?

 

It has been reported in the news that the Gender pay gap and the treatment of pregnant women has continued to be detrimental towards female workers and employees.

One thing the Government is trying to ensure is that the gender pay gap is reduced and this has been the Government’s intention since the 1970 Equal Pay Act was brought in.

It is now some 46 years old and yet still some employers will pay men and women different wages or put them on different contractual terms or even apply differently the terms of the Contracts to each person, whether on purpose or by accident.

What is also quite interesting is that a number of employers still seek to rely upon “pay secrecy” to try and ensure that their employees do not know what their fellow employees are paid.

It is possible for employers to require employees to keep their pay rates and terms confidential from those outside of the workplace, however the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to prevent employees from having discussions to establish if there are differences in pay and contractual terms.

It should be noted that if an employer loses an Equal Pay Claim, the Employment Tribunal, since the 1 October 2014, have the power to force the employer to conduct an Equal Pay Audit and publish the results.

If such a situation does occur it is likely that the fallout for the employer will be significant and unlikely that any insurance that you have in place will cover the losses. As this type of claim is routed in Contract Law then the loss of earnings can stem back 6 years. Therefore not only will it be a blow for moral if there is an Equal Pay Claim that is successful against an employer, but also financially detrimental across the board in view of the powers the Employment Tribunal can utilise to force an employer to undertake an Equal Pay Audit which in itself, will be time consuming and costly.

The simplest way to ensure you are not caught out by this sort of situation or you are not faced with such claims, is to make sure your policies and procedures are clear, that you have an Equality Policy which operates throughout the business from top to bottom and that all contractual rates of pay are the same regardless of gender, race or any other reason.

The only reason for differentiating pay will be if the employer can establish there is a genuine factor i.e. experience, skill, qualification or similar factor, which would render the pay scales different regardless of sex.

This is a tricky area to navigate but not one that is impossible to get right and ensure you avoid being on the wrong end of an equal pay or discrimination claim.

If you require assistance or would like to discuss this further, please call one of our Employment Specialists on 01530 835041