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Employment Online – September 2010

Welcome to the September 2010 edition of Employment Online

Employment Online is here to help you, as an HR professional, to keep up to date with the latest news from the ever-changing world of employment law.

Finally, if you have any queries regarding this update please contact one of the team.

Tribunal statistics show recession related claims still increasing

The Tribunal Service has published statistics for 2009 – 2010 which reveal major increases in claims for redundancy payments (up 76%), age discrimination (up 36%) and breach of contract claims (up 29%).  However, claims for failure to inform and consult on collective redundancies which surged in 2008 – 2009 were reduced by 34% which suggests that fewer large scale redundancy programmes are now being implemented.  There is a slight increase in unfair dismissal claims, but this is again a less dramatic increase than reflected in last years figures.

How to avoid holiday claims

Workers accrue holiday even if they are not at work due to sickness.  Where the absence runs into months or in some cases years the cost of accrued holiday can be significant.  If a worker does not ask to take holiday during the holiday year then he will lose the right to take it, or be paid for it, provided he then returns to work.  However, if he does not return to work, he can argue that he is entitled to all outstanding holiday, including that accrued during previous holiday years even if he has not asked to take leave.  If this is not paid, he can claim that he has suffered a series of unlawful deductions from his wages – a claim that can potentially go back years.

The Equality Act – are you ready for October?

If you have not reviewed your equal opportunity and recruitment policies you must do so quickly to make sure that they are compliant with the Equality Act which comes into force on 1 October 2010. The Act aims to simplify the law, but also introduces new concepts which will clarify and widen protection against disability and extend the scope of discrimination by association or based on perception.

Increase in national minimum wage rates and eligibility

On 1 October 2010, employers must increase the hourly pay of all staff whose remuneration is linked to the national minimum wage to reflect annual increases.  In addition, the age at which a worker is entitled to the adult rate will apply to workers aged 21 and over – a year younger than currently applies.