Increases to the UK National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage (Reminder)
The National Living Wage (NLW) will increase by 9.7% to £10.42 in April 2023 when the government fully implements the Low Pay Commission’s (LPC) recommendations. The government’s goal of two-thirds of median earnings by 2024 is compatible with this.
According to the LPC, an increase of 6.3% will be necessary in 2024. (when average wage growth is expected to have slowed).
The new rates are:
Age 23 + – £10.42
Age 21 – 22 – £10.18
Age 18 – 20 – £7.49
Age 16 – 17 – £5.28
Increases to other employment limits and statutory payments
England and Wales unfair dismissal/redundancy pay
The maximum statutory week’s salary will rise from £571 to £643 as of April 6, 2023. As a result, the combined maximum statutory award for unjust dismissal and redundancy will be £19,290. The maximum amount that can be awarded as compensation for an unfair dismissal will rise from £93,878 to £105,707.
The rise is especially relevant to businesses who are in the process of reorganising their personnel as a result of the difficult economic environment that the UK is presently facing because the capped weekly pay figure is used in the calculation of statutory redundancy benefits. The date when the employment effectively ended is typically—but not always—the relevant date when deciding which cap applies in connection to a dismissal. You should consider when the original contract expired if the employee quits during the trial term after accepting an offer of alternative employment.
Statutory sick pay (SSP)
With effect from 6 April 2023, the government will raise Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to £109.40 per week.
Family related benefits
The mandatory maternity, adoption, paternity, and shared parental pay prescribed or flat rate will increase from £156.66 to £172.48 per week.
Case of the Month: McQueen v General Optical Council) – Aggressive conduct did not arise from disability.
The EAT affirmed the decision that a claimant’s aggressive behaviour was unrelated to his disability.
The claimant, who has dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome symptoms, neurodiversity, and left-sided hearing loss, encountered conflict with co-workers on several occasions, sometimes acting “loud and angry.” He was the focus of two separate discipline hearings. The claimant filed a claim, claiming, among other things, that he had received unfair treatment due to an incident involving his disability.
The tribunal determined that the claimant’s behaviour during those interactions was not a result of his disability after examining the medical documentation and the claimant’s own evaluation of the effects of his health conditions. Instead, the tribunal concluded that his actions were a product of his quick temper and dislike of being told what to do. This case serves as a helpful reminder of how fact-specific these types of claims are and how tribunals must first determine whether the conduct is related to the disability before determining whether it was the cause of the claimed unfair treatment.
New legislation to make employers liable for harassment of their employees by third parties
The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill holds employers accountable if they do not take action to stop an employee from being harassed by a third party. Additionally, the bill would make it mandatory for companies to take any and all precautions necessary to protect against workplace sexual harassment.
In 2013, as part of the coalition government’s effort to reduce “unnecessary regulation,” provisions in the Equality Act 2010 that made employers liable for harassment by third parties were removed. However, in 2019, the government sought input before reintroducing explicit safeguards against third-party harassment. The proposal is currently one of several new employment-related Private Members’ Bills that have government support.
The law is anticipated to go into effect in 2024. One of the most frequently asked questions for March 2023 related to the responsibility of companies for third-party harassment.
How to support employees who are observing Ramadan?
Many Muslims will fast every day between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan, which in 2023 is anticipated to last from March 22 to April 21, as well as engage in extra prayers and other religious observances. Employers should be aware of the possible effects on workers of skipping meals or drinking during the day, coupled with a change in sleep patterns, and should consider supporting them.
Employers must not presume that all Muslim staff members would observe Ramadan in the same way or that those who are fasting will require particular accommodations. All staff members should be encouraged to address with their employers any potential effects of fasting on their job, as well as any potential solutions.
- Depending on the nature of the job, employers may choose to take the following measures to assist staff members who are observing Ramadan:
if at all practicable, shifts should be scheduled to fit employee preferences, such as allowing workers to conclude their shifts in time for sunset break-fast;
- accepting annual time where available;
- letting co-workers know that it is Ramadan and urging them to support their fasting co-workers by, specifically, refraining from giving them food or drink (where employees are still present in the workplace);
- allowing employees to schedule essential meetings or work that requires operating machines in the morning and less physically or cognitively demanding duties later in the day to accommodate reduced energy and concentration levels in the afternoon; and
- allowing flexible working, i.e., earlier start time, extra breaks for prayer etc.
Due to staffing constraints, not all employers will be able to grant requests for flexible working hours or yearly leave. As long as they can objectively explain any refusal, employers are not required to grant such requests from workers observing Ramadan.
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