HR news round up – Employment law in general practice

A round up of the latest HR updates, including Equal Pay Claims, Nice Guidelines, Compulsory Living Wage, Tax Allowances, Holiday Pay and Working Time (Travelling).

Equal Pay Claims

Practices should be careful where certain traditionally gender dominated roles are paid differently to those of a similar skills level with a different gender representation following a recent Employment Tribunal case involving Sainsbury’s.

Female shop floor workers in a Sainsbury’s store in Birmingham claim they are being paid less than their male colleagues in similar jobs who work in the largely male dominated distribution warehouses.

Legal experts believe if this is to be successful, it could open the flood gates to many more equal pay claims.

Nice Guidelines

In June of this year, NICE published some guidelines aimed at employee health which Practices can consider when reviewing health and wellbeing. 

Compulsory Living Wage

With George Osborne’s Conservative budget announcement, the National Living Wage will be introduced for those 25 years and over meaning by 2020, employees will be paid a minimum of £9 per hour with the intention to ensure employees earn enough for a decent standard of living.

Critics have stated that this is just a rebranding of the national minimum wage which will still apply to those under 25 and that the amount will not actually meet what experts currently state is the living wage.

The minimum wage is currently £6.50, rising to £6.70 in October. In April 2016, those of age 25 and over will get £7.20 per hour which is a large increase but does not meet the current living wage outside of London of £7.85.

Although the Government has assured employers that this will be offset by other tax reductions and have based calculations on projected increases in productivity, concerns over the accuracy of these reports have given rise to the fear that employers will need to reduce workforces in response to the additional expense.

Tax Allowances

The budget also delivered the news that the personal tax allowance will increase to £11,000 and £12,500 by 2020 with the higher threshold being £43,000.

Holiday Pay – The Saga Continues

Following the high profile holiday pay cases regarding overtime, a further case has been heard which suggests voluntary overtime should be included when calculating holiday pay too.

Unhelpfully, the Government is yet to update legislation and guidance, therefore the full position is still unclear but basing decisions on current case precedence, Practices would be wise to include all overtime when calculating holiday pay. Average earnings can be based on the previous 12 weeks.

Working Time - Travelling

A recent case has suggested that where an employee has no fixed place of work, time spent travelling to and from appointments should be included as working hours. This may be particularly relevant where Practices have clinical staff who are not Practice-based.


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