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New legislation round-up

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Age discrimination and family-friendly policies have been dominating the headlines but as one of the government’s two standard implementation dates for employment legislation, other changes are also taking place on Sunday.

The first is the annual change to the National Minimum Wage (NMW). But as well as the new rates, there are also some changes to who qualifies for what.

The development rate for those aged 22 and over, in the first six months of a job and receiving accredited training will be abolished from Sunday. This means that all workers aged 22 or over qualify for the main rate unless they are apprentices.

But the rules for apprenticeships have also changed to include apprentices over the age of 25. This means that from Sunday:

  • Apprentices under 19 will not qualify for the NMW.

  • Apprentices over the age of 19 do not qualify for the NMW during the first year of their apprenticeship.

A quick reminder of the new hourly rates:

  • £5.35 for all workers aged 22 or over.

  • £4.45 for workers aged between 18 and 21.

  • £3.30 for workers between the national school leaving age (usually 16) and 18.

Following the Irmtraud Junk case in the European Court of Justice, there has been a change to the notification procedures in cases of collective redundancies, which also comes into force on Sunday.

The change applies to any employer who wishes to make 20 or more employees redundant. It requires employers to notify the DTI at least 30 days before notice is given to employees of termination of employment. If 100 or more employees are to be made redundant, the notice period is a minimum of 90 days.

These requirements are the same as the period required for information and consultation under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act. The difference is designed to be one of clarity: the period extends to the notification date, not the dismissal date.

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Annie Hayes

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