In October, a couple of changes to employment law come into force, effecting businesses of all sizes across the country.

•  The national minimum wage rates will increase on October 1st  2011.

This means you’ll have to pay at least:

£6.08 per hour for workers aged 21 or more.
£4.98 per hour for workers aged 18-20.
£3.68 per hour for workers aged 16-17.


You’ll also need to pay any apprentices who are under the age of 19 at least £2.60 per hour, as well as those aged 19 and over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship.

If you provide any workers with accommodation, the accommodation offset will be increased to a maximum of £4.73 per day.

Best practise would be to update all of your employees' contracts with the new rate of pay to ensure clarity of information, in case of dispute. This could be done through an amendment letter stating the new rate and highlighting that ‘all other terms and conditions of employment remain the same.’

Failure to pay the minimum rate is a criminal offence.

• The Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

These regulations give agency temps a right to the same basic working and employment conditions as they would have had if they had been directly employed by the hirer to do the same job.

An agency temp will have to work for a qualifying period of 12 weeks, in the same role, with the same hirer, before they are entitled to equal treatment.

Occupational social security schemes, such as company pension schemes and occupational sick pay, are not included in basic working and employment conditions.

What’s more, all agency temps will be entitled to certain rights from the first day of an assignment, including access to canteens, childcare facilities, car parking and the right to be notified of permanent vacancies.

Now you have this information, you’re ahead of the game. Make sure that you start planning now to ensure you can make these changes to your business in plenty of time.

In terms of agency workers, it will be the resourcing agencies that have the bulk of the extra work, but it’s a good idea to get in touch with them now to check you are both organised ahead of 1 October.

Please note the above information is only to bring to your attention changes in legislation.If you are unsure of any aspect you should contact the HMRC.