Employment Rate Changes
Increases to Pay Rates
National Minimum Wage
From 1st April 2023, the National Minimum Wage rates are going up as follows:
- £9.50 to £10.42 for workers aged 23 and over (the national living wage).
- £9.18 to £10.18 for workers aged 21 or 22.
- £6.83 to £7.49 for workers aged 18 to 20.
- £4.81 to £5.28 for workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age.
- £4.81 to £5.28 for apprentices under 19, or over 19 and in the first year of the apprenticeship.
From 2nd April 2023 the weekly rate of statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and parental bereavement leave pay increases from £156.66 to £172.48 (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this is less than the statutory rate).
We would advise all employers to review their pay rates, to make sure that they are compliant with these changes.
Annual Tribunal Limit Increase
Hot off the press, the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2023 has just been published, with the regular annual increase in tribunal limits.
The key increases are (for dismissals taking place on or after 6th April 2023):
- Compensatory Award is increasing from £93,878 to £105,707.
- A ‘week’s pay’ (for basic award and redundancy payments) increasing from £571 to £643.
Dismissal and Re-engagement – Draft Code of Practice
BEIS has published a draft Code of Practice on Dismissal and Re-engagement. Draft Code of Practice on Dismissal and Re-engagement (publishing.service.gov.uk).
The Code sets out important guidance for negotiating and implementing changes to terms and conditions of employment. Failure to comply with the Code will be taken into account in any unfair dismissal claim (in the event that the employer dismisses those who do not agree to a proposed contractual change). An unreasonable failure to follow the Code can result in an uplift to any award of up to 25%.
Therefore any employer considering making changes to terms and conditions of employment should consider the Code before starting the process.
Section 23 Agreements
IKEA UK and Mcdonald’s UK have both recently signed legal agreements with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) to improve their sexual harassment policies and practices in response to complaints made by employees. In the case of Ikea it followed a single complaint, whereas in the case of Mcdonald’s it was in response to a series of complaints.
Although the precise details of the complaints against each company are not known, it is interesting to note that the action points for IKEA UK included the following:
- sending communications to all staff regarding the company’s zero-tolerance approach to harassment;
- collaborating with a specialist external law partner to review the company’s policies and procedures for handling complaints; and
- training on those policies and procedures to be given to all line managers and Human Resources staff.
In its agreement with the EHRC, McDonald’s has committed to the following:
- communicating a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment;
- conducting an anonymous survey of workers about workplace safety;
- enhancing its policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and improve responses to any complaints;
- delivering anti-harassment training to all employees, with specific training for managers to help them identify risk areas in their own restaurants; and
- supporting franchisees to implement the policy and provide training materials.
These agreements have been made under section 23 of the Equality Act 2006, which provides for the EHRC to enter into an agreement with an organisation if it thinks it has committed an unlawful act. In a section 23 agreement, the organisation undertakes not to commit an unlawful act and to take (or stop taking) specific actions, and the EHRC agrees to refrain from taking enforcement action.
This is only intended to be a summary and not specific legal advice. If you would like further information or advice, please do contact a member of our team.