In this round up of recent news, we report on the publication of final guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations, the coming into force of disability guidance under the Equality Act 2010, the increases to the national minimal wage that will apply from October 2011 and the publication of an updated guide on managing age.

BIS publishes final guidance on Agency Workers Regulations

BIS has now published its final guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations, which come in to force on 1 October 2011.

The final guidance makes the provisions and requirements in relation to pay between assignments clearer especially in relation to annual leave.  There has also been a minor change to remove one-off non-contractual bonus payments from the definition of pay.  Guidance for agency supply teachers has been removed and this will be the subject of a separate guidance to be published shortly.  Other than that there have been no changes of substance since the guidance was published in draft form.

The aim of the guidance is to clarify and support the Agency Workers Regulations which come in to force on 1 October 2011 and will give agency workers the right to the same basic working employment conditions as a comparable direct recruit of the end user after 12 weeks on assignment.  The Guidance provides information on who will fall within the scope of the Regulations and contains specific examples that demonstrate how the Agency Workers Regulations will work in practice.  A key message is that a common sense approach should be taken.  It is, however, important to remember the guidance is not a statement of the law and it will be for the courts to determine how the regulations should be interpreted.

Disability Guidance under Equality Act 2010 in force from 1 May 2011

Guidance to assist with determining who falls within the definition of a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 May 2011. It sets out the constituent parts of the statutory definition and provides examples to help to determine whether a person is disabled or not.

Government announces increases to national minimum wage from October 2011

The national minimum wage will increase from 1 October 2011 as follows:

  • The adult rate (age 21 and over) will increase to £6.08 per hour.
  • The development rate (for 18 to 20 year olds) will increase to £4.98 per hour.
  • The rate for young workers (16 to 17 year olds) will increase to £3.68 per hour.
  • The rate for apprentices aged under 19 years (or those aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship) increases to £2.60 per hour.  All other apprentices are paid at the appropriate age rate.
  • Updated guidance on managing age

The TUC and CIPD have updated their guidance on managing age to take into account good practice developments since 2006 and the phasing-out of the default retirement age from 6 April 2011. It supports the Acas guidance on managing without a retirement age and reflects the business case for extending working life and employing people of all ages.

It has a section setting out the answers to frequently asked questions then goes on to consider good practice in relation to retirement, flexible retirement, recruitment, selection and promotion, pay, benefits and pensions, appraisal, performance management and training, health and safety and redundancy and termination using case studies to illustrate its advice where appropriate.

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