Employment Law Bulletin March 2014

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Welcome

Last month, Vince Cable ‘named and shamed’ employers who pay less than minimum wage. Except he didn’t, really. He named just five employers – three of whom had underpaid less than £1,000 to only one worker, and the other two had underpaid just a few thousand pounds. None of the big companies who, according to the TUC, are depriving hundreds of workers of the minimum wage, were identified.

But even paying the minimum wage is seen in some quarters as not being enough. According to a report by the Living Wage Commission, 21% of workers in the UK earn less than a Living Wage, which they define as the amount people need “to enjoy a basic, but socially acceptable standard of living”.

The Commission is encouraging employers to pay the Living Wage if they can – the current hourly rate is £7.65/hour or £8.80/hour for London. This compares to the minimum wage, which is expected to increase to £6.50/hour for over-21s from October 2014 (it is currently £6.31/hour).

Intermediaries and false self-employment

When it comes to employment law, a common warning is that if you create a false picture to avoid duties and liabilities, you’ll be found out, eventually.

But even the innocent could get penalised by the government’s clamp down on employment status. Consultation has just finished, and a report is expected soon on proposals to catch organisations which are engaging employees or workers, and claiming that they’re self-employed.