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Newsletter                                      February 2020


National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage


The government has responded to the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission regarding increases to the National Living Wage (NLW) and the National Minimum Wage (NMW). The government has accepted the recommendations which will come into effect in April 2020, subject to Parliamentary approval. 

The National Minimum Wage will rise across all age groups, including: 

- A 6.2% increase from £8.21 to £8.72 for 25 and over
- A 6.5% increase from £7.70 to £8.20 for 21-24-year olds
- A 4.9% increase from £6.15 to £6.45 for 18-20-year olds
- A 4.6% increase from £4.35 to £4.55 for Under 18s
- A 6.4% increase from £3.90 to £4.15 for Apprentices

Ex Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid has pledged a more ambitious NMW so that on current projections it is set to reach £10.50 per hour by 2024, as part of his commitment to do more to end low pay. He has also said “The evidence is clear that our approach is the right one. We will end low pay by putting the National Living Wage on a path to increase to £10.50 over the next five years.”


The Good Work Plan


What is the Good Work Plan? The Good Work Plan is a product of the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices concluded in July 2017. The Plan will effect all businesses that employ people, use agency workers or subcontract labour and will come into force from 6th April 2020. The key proposals of the Good Work Plan are:

- Right to a written statement of terms (contract of employment) – the main changes that are to take effect are that an employee and worker are equally entitled to a statement containing all of their contractual terms from day one of the start of their engagement with an employer. 

- Changes to IR35 in the private sector – from April 6th 2020 all public authorities and medium and large sized clients will be responsible for deciding the employment status of workers. The rules apply to all public sector clients and private sector companies that meet 2 or more of the following conditions: A) have an annual turnover of more than £10.2 million; B) have a balance sheet total of more than £5.1 million; or C) have more than 50 employees.

- Amendment to Agency Worker Rules – once agency workers have satisfied the 12-week qualifying period, they will be entitled to equal pay to workers who are engaged directly by the employer. 

- Holiday pay reference period adjustment – the holiday pay reference period will increase from 12 to 52 weeks. Employers will be required to look back at the previous 52 weeks where a worker has worked and received pay, discarding any weeks not worked or where no pay was received, to calculate the average weekly pay.

- New parental bereavement law – the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 and its accommodating regulations will come to force in April 2020. This new legislation will entitle bereaved working parents to two weeks leave following the loss of child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. See Jack’s Law below.

Jack's Law


From April 6, 2020 the Parental Bereavement Leave and Play regulations also known as Jack’s Law will come into force. This means that parents who suffer stillbirth or the loss of a child will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory parental bereavement leave (SPBL). 

The Act give a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave for all employed parents if they lose a child under the age of 18 or have a stillbirth from the 24th week of pregnancy. The right will exist irrespectively of how long they have worked for their employer. This will allow parents to take the leave as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each taken at different times during 52 weeks after their child’s death. 

The new regulation will be known as Jack’s Law in memory of Jack Herd, whose mother Lucy has been campaigning on the issue since her 23-months-old son Jack drowned in a pond in 2010 and she discovered that his father could take only three days’ paid leave. 

Around 7,500 child deaths or stillbirths occur in the UK every year and the Government has estimated that this new entitlement will help to support around 10,000 parents a year.

Currently the median entitlement to paid bereavement leave provided by many organisations is five days, this means that the majority of employers will need to amend their policies regarding paid time off.

Ms Herd said “When I started this campaign 10 years ago after the death of my son Jack, I always hoped that a positive change would happen in his memory. Knowing that nearly 10 years of campaigning has helped create ‘Jack’s Law’ is the most wonderful feeling, but it is bittersweet at the same time.”


Tuesday is the worst day of the week - according to science

A study from the London School of Economics monitored the mood swings of 22,000 people and found Tuesday to be the day when most people hit their low point. Volunteers registered their state of mind at regular intervals over a two-month period where they were asked how they feel, who they are with, where they are and what they are doing. 

According to the research, Tuesday is the worst day of the week because it is the day when the weekend’s feel-good factor has worn off and people realise that the next one is far away. George MacKerron, from the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics said: “It seems plausible that on Monday the weekend has not quite worn off. By Tuesday they are well into the working week and the following weekend is not yet in sight.”

A piece of research in Britain, by the makers of the heath supplement Bimuno, has found that Tuesday at 11:45am seems to be the time in the day when the real workload for the week hits employees and as a result stress levels rise. The study has also revealed Tuesday as the day when workers are most likely to work through their lunch break due to the realisation, they have a busy week ahead.


Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Enforcement News

A steel fabrication company has been fined after steel cages fell onto a worker’s leg, resulting in multiple fractures. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard that, in November 2017, an employee of Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited was using a gantry crane to lift a steel cage from a stack of cages at the company site in Wickford, Essex. 

These steel cages were free-standing on the floor, each weighing 1188kg, and were stacked between 2-4 cages high in an unstable pyramid formation, without chocks to support the load. When the employee used the gantry crane to lift the top cage from the stack, two cages at the bottom rolled onto his left foot and leg, fracturing his tibia and fibula bones. 

As a result, the worker had to undergo reconstructive surgery where metal rods, plates and pins were inserted into his leg. An investigation by the HSE found that prior to the incident, Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited had failed to implement a safe system of work for storing cages and had not provided their employees with sufficient information, instruction, training and supervision to store and handle cages safely. 

The company had additionally failed to determine the maximum height that the cages could be stacked and suitable means to secure the cages to prevent movement and collapse. The task of stacking cages was also not adequately risk assessed.

Lemon Groundwork Solutions Limited of Russell Gardens, Wickford, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £130,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,589.99.

This case serves to highlight the importance of suitable and sufficient risk assessment, providing sufficient information, training and supervision, and implementing safe systems of work to ensure you satisfy legal requirements.

Mental Health and Well Being


Employees' mental health issues cost businesses over £40bn a year, a study by consultancy Deloitte found. Health and Safety Executive figures for 2019 show 54% of all working days lost were due to stress, depression or anxiety. 

Mental ill health is therefore a significant issue for workers and businesses alike, and it is therefore imperative businesses look at this appropriately, to ensure their work activities and related stresses they may bring are assessed and controlled accordingly. A healthy work force is a productive work force and mental health is no different. 

You may be asking yourself: Are we prepared for this as a business? Can we respond appropriately? Where do we stand legally in terms of your responsibilities as an employer? All valid questions… 

Essentially it has long been established in H&S case law that employers responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees so far as is reasonably practicable also extends to mental health (Walker v Northumberland County Council 1994 the first work related stress case). 

With this in mind it is imperative businesses follow their legal obligations to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. Having risk assessed, suitable controls measures can be implemented accordingly to help protect workers from ill health arising from the stresses and demands of their work. Further guidance can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who have developed a set of management standards to tackle stress and pressure at work. 

You can also contact the Wurkplace Team who can assist and give suitable guidance and assist with work related stress risk assessments to ensure your business is meeting its legal requirements in this area.


Team News

This month we are pleased to welcome Jolita Burbaite from Wrexham Glyndwr University who is on her University placement here at Wurkplace. We are excited to work with both Jolita and look forward to helping her with her development. 

We are also very pleased to congratulate Tyler Woods for successfully completing his NEBOSH and CIM Foundation Certificate in Marketing after much hard work. Well done Tyler!


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