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New employment laws come into effect

01 Oct 2015

October saw the introduction of a raft of new employment legislation, including an increase in the National Minimum Wage and a new law banning smoking in cars in which children are present.

The National Minimum Wage has increased from £6.50 to £6.70 an hour for workers aged 21 and over, from 1 October 2015. Workers aged 18-20 will also enjoy an increase in their hourly rate to £5.30, while wages for those aged under 18 have risen to £3.87 an hour. The hourly rate for apprentices has also increased, to £3.30.

Meanwhile, drivers of private cars in England and Wales are now banned from smoking cigarettes if passengers aged under 18 are present. The legislation covers cars with the windows down or the sunroof open, although it does not apply to e-cigarettes, or to convertible cars with the roof down.

While existing smoke-free legislation already covers company vehicles, the new rules will affect those employees using a company car for family purposes, so employers are advised to review their company car and smoking policies in light of the changes.

Also taking effect from 1 October is new legislation governing the issue of modern slavery. Under Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more per annum will be required to publish a modern slavery statement every year, outlining the measures that they have taken to prevent forms of modern slavery (such as forced or compulsory labour, servitude and human trafficking) within their business or supply chain.