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Employment Law Updates Spring 2014

March 27, 2014 - In Uncategorized

April 2014 Statutory Rates Increase

  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay – £138.18 pw
  • Statutory Sick Pay - £87.55 pw
  • Statutory Weekly Pay - £464 pw
  • Lower Earning Level - £111 pw
  • Student Loan Recovery - £16910 pa deduction 9%

The Pension Regulator

Setting Budgets? You will need to know your Pension Staging Date. To find this use this link to The Pensions Regulator. The clock is ticking!


Employment Law Updates

Ante natal appointments
Employed fathers (or the mother’s partner) will be given the right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments. The right will come into force on 1 October 2014.


Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, the “A2″ countries who joined the EU in 2007, had their restrictions on working in any EU Member State lifted from 1 January 2014.


Changes to spent convictions – the period during which certain convictions need to be disclosed to potential employers was reduced from 10 March 2014. The Ministry of Justice has published guidance on the changes.


The regulation freeze will continue and is extended to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. These businesses will be exempt from some new regulations if there is any evidence that they will result in disproportionate burdens that could impede growth. Applies to new regulations which come into force after 31 March 2014.


The maximum civil penalty for illegally employing an immigrant is expected to rise from £10,000 to £20,000 if approved by Parliament, from 6 April 2014.


The right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ service from 30 June 2014.


If you wish to discuss any of these matters in more detail, please contact Denise Reece:
01327 264540 or email

What’s so bad about Zero-hours contracts?

October 24, 2013 - In Employment Law, HR News

Zero-hours contracts with more flexible working hours can benefit both employers and employees alike –  understand more about the benefits and the risks.


The majority of businesses cannot afford to have full time permanent staff who are not fully utilised. These contracts have been successfully used in the working world for many years in order to accommodate peaks and troughs within an industry, and to create a team of casual staff familiar with the business.
In peak times, staff can be called upon who are already trained, understand the business and can hit the ground running ensuring productivity is optimised, though with the controversy surrounding zero hours contracts recently it would be easy to believe that they are the worst thing for workers since the employment laws of a couple of centuries ago!
A zero-hour contract is a contract of employment which while meeting the terms of the Employment Rights Act 1996 by providing a written statement of the terms and conditions of employment, contains provisions which create an ‘on call’ arrangement between employer and employee. It does not oblige the employer to provide work for the employee, nor does it oblige the employee to accept the work offered.


It may be that individuals either no longer need or want permanent full time employment and are happy to work on an ad hoc basis, or need to work around domestic arrangements. The flexibility these contracts offer cannot be denied.


So how common are zero hours contracts?


According to a recent article in The Financial Times  more than a quarter of companies employ someone on a zero-hours contract, potentially involving up to a million workers – a much higher figure than previously thought.


These contracts are said by some to be exploitative and of benefit only to employers, that workers on these contracts on average earn less per hour than their full contract wielding peers. This is not the norm.


In today’s economic climate, it’s not always viable to employ all staff on contracts with set hours and as long as the systems used to manage workers on such contracts are well run, they can provide a good solution for all.


Used by NHS Trusts, the hospitality and tourism industries among others, zero hour contracts also offer the employee a great degree of flexibility. Contracted staff can benefit from holiday and sick pay, pro rated and importantly, they legally have the right to say no to any offer of work.


For those employers currently using zero-hours contracts, it would be wise to:


  • Ensure that the terms and conditions are communicated clearly at the outset so employees understand their rights and what is expected of them
  • Ensure good management of staffing arrangements so that shifts are rotated appropriately
  • Be clear about the differences between ‘zero-hours’ contracts and the employee benefits and employment rights they bring, and ‘casual’ working arrangements to avoid getting embroiled in potential employment-related disputes.


If you are looking at a way to structure more flexible staff contracts for your business and would like some professional advice on the best contracts to put in place St Klare Reece can help you.


We’re experts at providing outsourced creative HR solutions for SMEs.  We work with you to implement contracts for your staff that suit them and your business – a win/win for both parties!


For a complimentary informal discussion contact Denise Reece on 01327 264540, or email

5 Employment Law Changes Make it Fairer for Employers

September 26, 2013 - In Employment Law

On 29th July 2013 five employment law changes came into effect which make it fairer for Employers

1. Claimants to pay a fee to submit an Employment Tribunal Claim.

In a move to reduce vicarious and bogus claims, fees have been introduced. An Issue Fee of either £160 or £250 and if it progresses as far as a Hearing, fees of £230 or £950. A total of £390 or £1,200. The 2 tier system reflects the complexity of the case. Type A would be a simple unlawful deduction from wages whereas Type B would be unfair dismissal or discrimination cases. Post Tribunal it will additionally cost £400 to issue an Appeal and £1,200 to proceed to a full hearing at an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). Continue reading 5 Employment Law Changes Make it Fairer for Employers.

Statistics suggest modest growth in the labour market

September 26, 2013 - In HR News

New OECD report also suggests unemployment will remain high in the UK into 2014

Responding to the latest ONS labour market statistics, the OECD Employment Outlook and the launch of traineeships for 16-24 year olds, Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD, comments: “Today’s labour market statistics appear consistent with the trend in recent months towards a modest but continued expansion of the labour market.  Employment has increased marginally since the previous quarter and unemployment is down again, with the growth in full-time jobs rather than part-time jobs.  Interestingly, the non Labour Force Survey based measures of labour market activity suggest a stronger rate of activity with a fall of 21,000 in numbers claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance and an increase of 24,000 in the number of job vacancies. Continue reading Statistics suggest modest growth in the labour market.

Border Control Agency Increases its Spot Checks

September 26, 2013 - In Uncategorized

Employers have been aware that since the amendment on 1st May 2004 to the Asylum & Immigration Act 1996, all new employees must have their Right to Residency & Right to Work checked before commencing work.

As a reminder this entails checking the new employee’s Passport or Birth Certificate plus official documentation showing their National Insurance Number and keeping a photocopy of the originals on the personal file. These records can be checked at anytime without warning by the Border Control Agency and hefty fines imposed for each person to be found working illegally.

Your processes should also include reminders for those people working under Work Permits or Visas, as when they expire, so may the workers right to remain.

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