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Welcome to HR Heartbeat, where we give you a rundown of the week's top employment law stories. Stay on the pulse of current trends impacting your business, plus get up-to-the-minute commentaries on all things HR and legal.
National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates on the rise 2024/25
The Chancellor last week announced the latest National Minimum Wage rates for 2024/25 which he said will be the largest ever increase.
It will take the National Living Wage (NLW) from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour. Eligibility will also be extended by reducing the age threshold to 21-year-olds for the first time.
The National Minimum Wage rate will increase to £8.60 per hour for 18–20-year-olds, which is a £1.11 increase. For those aged 16 and 17 years old, and apprentices, the minimum pay will be £6.40 per hour.
Ask BrightLightning: When do I have to start paying the increased NMW rate?
National Insurance changes
In the Autumn Statement last week, the Chancellor also announced that the Government will cut the 12% rate of employee National Insurance by 2% meaning a saving of £450 for those on a salary of £35,000.
This measure will be introduced on 6 January 2024. Employers of veterans will also get extra National Insurance relief.
Cruise ship company sink ‘fire and rehire’ plan
The Cruise ship company Carnival UK, which owns P&O Cruises and Cunard, was alleged to have been planning to fire more than 900 UK staff if they did not accept new terms and conditions for their jobs.
This might sound familiar given P&O Ferries’ decision in March 2022 to fire 800 UK workers without consultation and employ foreign agency staff at much lower pay rates.
But in a joint statement from Carnival and the trade union Nautilus, they’ve said the tactic would be dropped. Instead, they’ll work “co-operatively towards a negotiated settlement”.
Ask BrightLightning: Is fire and re-hire an unlawful practice?
Deliveroo riders aren’t workers?...
The Supreme Court has concluded that Deliveroo drivers are not ‘workers’ and so cannot form a collective bargaining unit.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had sought to form a collective bargaining unit involving Deliveroo riders in Camden and Kentish Town.
The Supreme Court, however, found riders do not fall within the scope of an employment relationship within Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to form and join a trade union.
The Supreme Court found that the Deliveroo contract “gives riders a broad and unfettered right” to use a substitute, which was “totally inconsistent with having an employment relationship”, where work needs to be completed personally. The appeal by the IWGB was, therefore, dismissed.
The decision has come after a longstanding dispute after Deliveroo drivers attempted to unionise in 2016 over pay and conditions.
For employers, it’s important to have the right employee contracts for the right employment status so that you are giving gig workers the correct rights. Failure to do so could result in minimum wage or holiday pay claims if for example a worker is found not to be self-employed.
Ask BrightLightning: What is a gig worker?
Keep up-to-date with upcoming changes in the law by asking: Are gig economy workers getting stable contracts?
And that’s a wrap. Tune in next week for more headlines and make sure you stay ahead of major employment law changes!