Welcome to the March edition of the AdviserPlus newsletter.
In this month’s newsletter we are highlighting the key increases in both statutory payments and national living wages as well as the changes to the compensation limits awarded by Employment Tribunal. We will also be looking at the gender pay gap reporting requirements, how as an organisation you can support colleagues who are observing the Holy month of Ramadan and answer some frequently asked questions regarding the additional upcoming Bank Holiday.
National Living/Minimum Wage increases
From 1st April new National Minimum wage rates will come into force as follows:
- Workers aged 23 and over: £10.42 an hour (National Living Wage)
- Workers aged 21-22: £10.18 an hour
- Development rate for workers aged 18-20: £7.49 an hour
- Young workers rate for workers aged 16-17: £5.28 an hour
- Apprentice rate: £5.25 an hour
From 2nd April statutory maternity, adoption, paternity and shared parental pay rises from £156.66 to £172.48 a week. Also on this date, statutory sick pay rises from £99.35 to £109.40 per week.
Don’t forget to review any policies and documents that mention the rates, such as their maternity policies and sickness absence procedures.
Annual Tribunal Limit Increase
The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2023 has been published, with the regular annual increase in tribunal limits.
The key increases are;
- Compensatory Award – £105,707 (previously £93,878)
- The minimum amount of basic award where reason for dismissal is one listed below; will rise from £6,959 to £7,836:
- carrying out duties as health and safety representative
- carrying out duties as a representative (or candidate) in relation to working time matters
- carrying out duties as a trustee of an occupational pensions scheme
- performing functions or activities as an employee representative (or candidate)
- trade union membership or activities, or
- selection for redundancy on grounds related to trade union membership or activities.
- A ‘week’s’ pay for the purpose of calculating the awards for basic and redundancy payments will be £643 (previously £571).
The increase in the amount of a week’s pay means that the maximum basic award for unfair dismissal and the maximum statutory redundancy payment will increase from £17,130 to £19,290;
These changes take effect from 6 April 2023.
Other increases – Vento bands.
Vento bands operate as the parameters for injury to feelings awards in successful discrimination claims. For claims presented on or after 6 April 2023 in Employment Tribunals in England or Wales, the new Vento bands will be as follows:
- lower band – £1,100 to £11,200 (less serious cases);
- middle band – £11,200 to £33,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and
- upper band – £33,700 to £56,200 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £56,200.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
The gender pay gap is a measurement of the difference between the average earnings of men and women across a workforce, on 31 March public sector organisations with a headcount of 250 or more are required to their gender pay gap information along with a written statement on a public reporting website by 30th March next year.
Private and voluntary sector
From 4 April organisations in the private and voluntary sector with a headcount of 250 or more on 5 April are required to publish their gender pay gap reporting information, together with a written statement, on an official reporting website by 4 April next year.
If this affects your business whether it be in the public, private or voluntary sector, you are encouraged to provide a supporting narrative explaining the causes of any pay difference and an action plan on how you intend to address those issues.
As we enter the Holy month of Ramadan 2023 you may want to think about how your organisation can help support colleagues who are observing and celebrating Ramadan. Here are our top 5 suggestions:
Be informed about Ramadan.The first step in supporting employee’s during Ramadan is to learn about it. This knowledge will help to better accommodate their needs during this time.
Offer flexible working hours. Consider offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home during this time to help them manage their work commitments and religious observances.
Accommodate time for prayer. Muslim employees need to pray five times a day, and it is important to provide them with a quiet and clean space to do so. If your organisation does not have a prayer room, consider creating one or designating a quiet area where employees can pray.
Be mindful of mealtimes. If your organisation provides lunch or snacks during the day, be mindful of this and consider adjusting lunch breaks or providing alternative arrangements to accommodate those who are fasting.
Show understanding and support. It is important to show your employees that you understand and support their religious observances during Ramadan.
Additional Bank Holidays
The Government has confirmed Monday 8th May will be an additional Bank Holiday following King Charles’ coronation on Saturday 6th May. Employees don’t, however, automatically have the right to take the day off work. The employee’s contract of employment will determine the right to the day off. Where the contract entitles employees to take leave on “all bank and public holidays”, you are required to grant the extra day as leave. If the contract states, the employee is entitled to a certain number of days ‘plus eight bank holidays’ or ‘the usual bank holidays’ then you would not be contractually obliged to grant the extra day as leave. You may, however, choose to do so as a goodwill gesture given the historical significance of the event.
With regards to payment for those employees being required to work there is no statutory right to extra pay, for example time and a half or double time. Any right to extra pay again depends on the terms and conditions of the employee’s contract which should stipulate the rate of pay for working on a public holiday. If the contract is silent then there is no right to a higher rate than normal for working a bank holiday. The only watch out would be if employees have been paid an enhanced rate for working bank holidays in the past, in this case it may be that it has become a contractual entitlement.
Note: The above guidance was correct at the time of writing this article on 22/03/23. This does not constitute legal advice and is for information purposes only.
If you have any questions regarding the content of this newsletter or would like more information to support your business with the changes, please get in touch.