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Blog  »  September 2017
25
Sep 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the news again

A junior minister has revealed that shortfalls in national minimum wage (NMW) payments hit a record £10.9m in 2016, affecting up to 100,000 employees.

Some of the country’s well-known retailers were caught out by failing to pay staff correct wage rates, including John Lewis & Tesco. Tesco stated that it had paid their staff less than the NMW when a new payroll system was introduced, leaving 140,000 of its employee’s being short-changed nearly £10m between them. John Lewis also blamed a payroll error when it was discovered they had breached the NMW laws to the tune of £36m.

Charles Cotton, performance and reward advisor at the CIPD said there were various reasons for shortfalls in payments from employers – “…employers may be ignoring the law and exploiting their workers…another is that the employer doesn’t fully understand the legal requirements…so it is important that employers are aware of the rules.”

This is not the first time NMW underpayments have been brought to light this year, we recently posted a blog on the government's name and shame scheme where 233 employers had to pay back £2m to underpaid workers. And also the release of a recent survey by the Dept. for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) indicated that 1 in 5 apprentices have not been receiving the mandatory minimum wage. The survey discovered that the number of apprentices receiving less than the NMW they are entitled to rose sharply from 13% for those aged 16-18 to 32% for those aged 19-20.

Underpayments occurring since April 2016 have been subject to a penalty of 200% of the value of the underpaid amount – capped at £20,000 but this does not seem to have had the desired effect of discouraging employers from breaching the rules.

It is extremely important that organisations pay the wage rates that they are legally obliged to. Employers that are found to be deliberately flouting the law should also be prosecuted, so that good companies aren’t undermined by bad ones.

 

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Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook, Wages

18
Sep 17

Posted by
Debbie Clarke

National Work Life Week – 2nd to 6th October

Organised by Working Families in their yearly campaign National Work Life week will run from 2nd to 6th October 2017. This annual campaign is to encourage both employers and employees to discuss work life balance and talk about wellbeing in the workplace.

On Wednesday 4th October “Go Home on Time Day” takes place, which encourages all employees to leave work on time and have the opportunity to contemplate achieving a work and home life balance. Research carried out by Working Families shows a large number of employees working more than their contracted hours every week. Working Families are encouraging employers to advise their employees to leave work at the correct time on “Go Home on Time Day”.

A toolkit can be downloaded by employers for ways on how they can take part in the National Work Life Week. It can be downloaded by clicking here. This gives employers an opportunity to display to employees and stakeholders that their organisation aims and encourages a healthy work life/home life balance for employees.

The National Work Life Conference for employers takes place in London on 2nd October and employers can register here. The conference aims to provide employers with best practice examples and tools to take back to their workplace.

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Posted in Employment Update

11
Sep 17

Posted by
Laura Murphy

GDPR - what businesses need to know

Data protection and how personal data is managed is changing forever. On 25 May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force. The GDPR is a European privacy regulation replacing all existing data protection regulations.

Current data protection legislation in the UK dates back to 1998, predating current levels of internet usage and cloud technology, making it unsuitable for today’s digital economy.

The GDPR will apply to any personal data of EU citizens, regardless of whether it is stored within or outside the EU. Most, if not all companies, process a level of personal data, whether it is customer details or employee details, therefore businesses need to be aware and plan for the new legislation.

What is Personal Data?

The GDPR substantially expands the definition of personal data. Under GDPR, personal data is any information related to a person, for example a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, their personnel file, or a computer IP address.

High Penalties

Ignoring the new legislation is ill advised as there are tough new fines for non-compliance. Companies or organisations found to be in breach of the legislation will face fines of up to 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater.

GDPR & Brexit

The UK will not have departed the EU on 25 May 2018 and will still be an EU member state. The GDPR will consequently become domestic law and compliance will be mandatory.

Key Changes

Some of the key changes included as part of the GDPR include:

Consent must be clear, distinguishable from other matters and provided in an easily accessible form, using clear and plain language. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.

Breach Notifications; where a breach occurs, the Information Commissioner’s Office and affected data subjects must be notified within 72 hours of the breach coming to light.

Data subjects will have additional rights, including:

  • Access Rights: data subjects may obtain from a data controller confirmation as to whether or not personal data concerning them is being processed, where and for what purpose.
  • Right to be Forgotten; data subjects will have the right to request that their personal data be erased, or ceased to be processed.
  • Data Portability: data subjects will have the right to receive the personal data concerning them, and the right to transmit that data to another controller.

To Do

If you haven’t already started planning for GDPR click here for guidance on how to prepare.

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