The Government has announced a small increase to the hourly national minimum wage which will take effect from 1st October 2009. The Standard Adult Rate (for workers aged 22 and over) has increased from £5.73 to £5.80. The Development Rate (for workers aged between 18 and 21) has increased from £4.77 to £4.83. Finally, the Young Workers’ Rate (for workers aged under 18) has increased from £3.53 to £3.57. The Government is also planning, from October 2010, to extend the Standard Adult Rate to workers aged 21. It is also considering the publication of a list to name and shame employers who flout the minimum wage rules. The Government has also confirmed that, from 1st October 2009, tips, gratuities and other service charges cannot be used by employers to count towards payment of the national minimum wage
During the Spring Budget in April, the Chancellor announced an increase to the maximum amount of a “week’s pay” for the purpose of calculating an individual’s entitlement to statutory redundancy pay. It has now been confirmed that, from 1st October 2009, the sum will increase from £350 to £380. This means that the maximum statutory redundancy payment will be £11,400. There will be no further increase in this figure until at least February 2011
The Government has announced a new consultation on proposals to amend the current system of Doctors’ certification of sickness. The consultation ends in August 2009. The proposed new “fit note” will replace the handwritten note currently used by Doctors and will be available in both paper and electronic formats. It is envisaged that the fit note will come into usage in April 2010. The intention is to change the current emphasis from a person’s inability to work to a new statement of fitness. This will include the option for a Doctor to indicate whether the person may be “fit for some work now”. It will be open for the Doctor to suggest and the employer to consider matters such as a phased return to work for the employee, altered work hours, amended duties and workplace adaptations. The purpose of these proposed new rules is to facilitate an earlier return to work and to reduce the level of long term sickness absence
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