Issue 18 - 9th October 2006

Monday 9 October 2006

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Cases

Contract

Keeley v Fosroc International Ltd [2006] EWCA 1277

Where an employee’s handbook sets out a right to enhanced redundancy terms, in the circumstances it did have contractual force. Read more

Working time

Commission of the European Communities v United Kingdom. ECJ, 7.9.06 (C-484/04)

The ECJ held that the DTI guidelines on working time breached the directive. The working time directive obliges member states to guarantee that each of the minimum requirements laid down is observed, including the right to benefit from effective rest. The fact that the guidelines indicate that the employer is not required to ensure that the workers actually exercise such rights, does not guarantee compliance with either the minimum. The ECJ did however accept that the compliance with the obligations should not, as a general rule, extend to requiring the employer to force his workers to claim the rest periods due to them.

Leglisation

A number of new provisions came into force on 1 October 2006. The most notable include the following:

Age Discrimination

From 1 October 2006 the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 came into force.

The Regulations implement Council Directive 2000/78/EC on discrimination in respect of age, however there are judicial review proceedings currently underway challenging the regulations on the basis that the provisions allowing for retirement dismissals contravene the directive.

Pension provisions will not come into force until 1 December 2006. The regulations and guidance on their implementation can be found by clicking here

National Minimum Wage

Also on 1 October 2006 the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage increased from £5.05 to £5.35 per hour. The youth rate, paid to 18-21 year-olds, went from £4.25 per hour to £4.45. The rate for 16-17 year olds increased from £3.00 an hour to £3.30 per hour.

From 1 October, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 abolished the Older Workers Development Rate and extended the apprenticeship exemption to cover all apprentices aged 19 and over.

The accommodation offset also increased from £3.90 per day to £4.15 per day.

Maternity and Parental Leave

The Maternity and Parental Leave etc. and the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2006 affect employees whose expected week of childbirth (“EWC”) is on or after 1 April 2007, an employee whose child is expected to be placed with him for adoption by that date or, in cases of overseas adoption, an adopter whose child enters Great Britain on or after that date.

One of the main provisions of the regulations is the removal of the additional length of service qualifying condition for additional maternity leave so an employee who qualifies for ordinary maternity leave will now also qualify for additional maternity leave.

The regulations also allow an employee on maternity leave to agree with her employer to work for up to 10 days during the statutory maternity leave period without bringing that period to an end as a result of carrying out the work.

Click Here for the full text of the regulations

Maternity and Parental Leave Pay

New regulations which include the extension of the period of statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance for women whose EWC falls on or after 1 April 2007 to 39 weeks came into force on 1 October 2006. Statutory adoption pay also extended for employees who adopt a child on or after the same date.

The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (General) and the Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (Weekly Rates) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 fullprovisionscan be found by clicking here

The Statutory Maternity Pay, Social Security (Maternity Allowance) and Social Security (Overlapping Benefits) (Amendment) Regulations 2006full provisionscan be found by clicking here

Other provisions include changes to notification rules on collective redundancies and the introduction of rules licensing gangmasters.

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