New employment law is usually introduced each October. The following key changes that are most likely to affect small businesses from 1st October 2015:

Increase in the National Minimum Wage:

  • For workers aged 21 and over – increases to £6.70 per hour
  • For workers aged 18-20 – increases to £5.30 per hour
  • For workers aged under 18 – increases to £3.87 per hour
  • For apprentices – increases to £3.30 per hour

Smoking in all cars containing children is prohibited:

While smoking in company vehicles is already prohibited, this is extended to private cars, thus affecting employees using company cars for family purposes. Employers are advised to review their company car and smoking policies.

New Fit for Work service to begin accepting employer referrals:

The new Fit for Work service aims to help employees returning to work after a period of sickness or absence. Advice can be obtained via the Fit for Work website and telephone helpline. Employers will be able to refer their employees for free occupational health assessments if an employee has been absent from work for a minimum of four weeks.