National minimum wages changes as of October 1st 2015.
Sikh exemption from wearing a safety helmet on a construction site is extended to all workplaces as of 1st October 2015.
The Deregulation Act 2015 amends s.11 of the Employment Act 1989 (exemption of Sikhs from requirements as to wearing of safety helmets on construction sites) to exempt turban-wearing Sikhs from having to wear a safety helmet at any workplace.
Some limited exceptions where employers can require Sikhs to wear safety helmets will remain, mainly involving the armed forces and emergency response situations.
Employment tribunals lose power to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases as October 2015
The Deregulation Act 2015 removes the power that allows employment tribunals to make wider recommendations (that may benefit others, and not just the claimant personally) in discrimination cases.
Employment tribunals were given the power to make recommendations for the benefit of the wider workforce in relation to discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010.
Employment tribunals have the power to make recommendations but these are now to be limited to what steps an employer should take to reduce the adverse effect of the discrimination in relation only to the claimant.
Ban on smoking in private cars carrying a person aged under 18 comes into force on 1st October 2015
The Smoke-free (Private Vehicles) Regulations 2015 (SI 286/2015) amend the Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 (SI 765/2007) to ban smoking in private cars carrying a person aged under 18, with the aim of protecting children from the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke in vehicles. The new law means that it is a criminal offence to smoke in a private vehicle with a person aged under 18 or to allow smoking in a private vehicle with a person aged under 18.
Changes to health and safety requirements for self-employed workers Implementation date: 1 October 2015
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (General Duties of Self-Employed Persons) (Prescribed Undertakings) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1583) specify the list of activities where self-employed workers are required to comply with health and safety duties under s.3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, following changes to health and safety laws for self-employed workers. The list includes activities in agriculture, construction, gas and railways, and working with asbestos. In addition, self-employed workers who carry out an undertaking that involves an activity that poses risks to the health and safety of others are required to comply with the health and safety duties imposed by s.3(2) of the Act.
Employment status affects the rights that employees, workers and self-employed people can exercise in the workplace. There are no direct definitions of these three types of status but ‘tests’ that need to be applied to confirm status. If you are not sure what status your ‘employee’ has, please contact Landsker for guidance.
The rules on what should be included in holiday pay have changed over the last year or so and are still changing based on case law. If your employees work overtime, earn commission, have shift premiums or similar then it is wise to check what should be included in their holiday pay. If you are not sure please contact Landsker for guidance.
Fit for Work is a new, voluntary service that offers the wider working population access to occupational health support. It provides the services of health professionals to people in employment if they have been off work for four weeks or more due to illness or related issues. Fit for Work is free and helps employees stay in or return to work.
GPs and employers throughout England and Wales can now refer their employed patients and employees who have been, or are likely to be, off sick from work for four weeks or more for a voluntary occupational health assessment.
The occupational health professional will identify obstacles preventing the employee from returning to work. A Return to Work Plan will be agreed providing recommendations tailored to the employee’s needs, which can replace the need for a fit note.