The latest news from TeamHR

The latest HR and employment news from TeamHR. Breaking news stories are added every week to help keep you and your business up to date with the latest breaking news in employment, employment law, personnel management and HR.


The minimum wage rates from 1 October 2008 are as follows:

Find out more: Guide for Employers


Remember, the statutory holiday entitlement has ALREADY increased to 24 days per annum (including any bank/public holiday entitlement) and will increase again, to 28 days per annum (including any bank/public holiday entitlement) with effect from 1st April 2009.

Remember holiday accrues from DAY ONE of employment, not after people complete any trial or probationary period! Holiday also accrues during sickness absence, maternity leave and so on although the calculations may not be as straightforward as they first appear.


For part time workers and those working their hours over 4 or less days of the week, move to calculating holiday entitlement in HOURS and add any bank/public and holiday entitlement together to give TOTAL holiday hours per annum; people then book holiday for bank/public and holiday days and you, and the individual, know where you are at and you don't risk providing too much or too little bank/public holiday entitlement - all too common for people working patterns such as Monday - Wednesday or Tuesday to Thursday respectively.


TERM TIME ONLY - talk to us or your usual HR advisor first, it is not as straightforward as it first appears!

HOURLY PAID CASUAL and VARIABLE HOURS EMPLOYEES - talk to us or your usual HR advisor first, it is not as straightforward as it first appears!

Consultation on Statutory Right for (Un)paid Time off for Training

You've got until 10th September 2008 to take part in the government's consultation exercise on how workers can be given the statutory right to request time away from their normal duties to undertake relevant training.

The proposal is that this new right would only apply to employees with at least 26 weeks' employment with a given employer. The proposal is that an employee would have no automatic right to take time off for training but that his or her employer would have to seriously consider any such request. It is proposed that the employer would be at liberty to refuse such a request, but only if there is a good business reason for doing so. For example, where training would not help improve business performance the request could reasonably be refused - this mirrors the procedures already in place for employees to request flexible working arrangements.

Employees' requests could be to undertake accredited programmes leading to a qualification, or for short, unaccredited training to help them develop a specific skill relevant to their job. Alternatively the employee may need to arrange their own training, perhaps through a local college, but will benefit from being released during normal working hours. In all instances, the only requirement would be that training should help improve business performance and productivity. However, the right will not extend to paid time off from work or reimbursement of training costs, but the employer may wish to provide for this, or to make a contribution to this, as a contractual entitlement. Employers granting requests would be able to access government support and funding.

The government anticipates that the proposals would result in around 300,000 more people receiving skills training from 2010 onwards and proposes to introduce the right through the Education and Skills Bill, which will also create a national apprenticeship service and provide a statutory entitlement to apprenticeships for all suitably qualified young people. The consultation is open to employers and employees and closes on 10 September 2008. Click on the following link to access the consultation document.

Immigrant Workers - changes from 29th Feb 2008

Major changes are being introduced, from 29th February 2008, into all aspects of Business Immigration. If you are considering, or do from time to time seek a work permit for a potential worker make sure you know about the changes.

The changes arise from the introduction of Civil Penalties for illegal workers with effect from 29th February 2008.

In addition to this, a new Points Based System is being introduced on a roll out process by the Home Office and this will affect 80 current work and study immigration categories. The new points based system will be based on a five tier structure. It is thought that this new system will have significant impact on any companies proposing to make new work permit applications and/or extension applications. They will now need to apply to be licensed as a sponsor and have various ongoing obligations in order to maintain their licence.

Highly Skilled Migrants are covered within Tier 1 of the new points based system, and the time scale for implementation is likely to be March 2008. Tier 2, which incorporates a very significantly modified version of the existing Work Permit Scheme (to include an English language requirement and electronic certificates of sponsorship issued by the licensed UK companies), is likely to be implemented during autumn 2008.

Further details

UK and Eire Bank Holiday Dates 2008 and 2009

Employers need to be aware that bank holiday entitlement varies between the countries of the United Kingdom. In England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland there is no entitlement time off (*1) or to payment at the basic rate for public/bank holidays UNLESS the contract of employment provides for time and/or payment at the basic rate of pay.

(*1) There are special rules for shop-workers in England and Wales who work in large shops (over 280 square feet). If someone works in one of these shops, they must be given Christmas Day off, regardless of which day it falls on. However, whether or not the person will be paid at the basic rate of pay will depend on what their contract of employment says.

At present there is a statutory entitlement of 24 days holiday per annum, and this may include any entitlement under the contract of employment to paid time off on, or in lieu of, bank/public holidays. From April 2009 this entitlement will increase to 28 days per annum, and again this entitlement may include any entitlement under the contract of employment to paid time off on, or in lieu of, bank/public holidays.

The expected dates of bank and public holidays in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are shown below for the years 2008 and 2009.

For those employers also employing staff in Eire, where the bank public holidays differ slightly, these are shown below also.

CountryDescription of dayDate 2008Date 2009
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and EireNew Year's Day1 Jan1 Jan
Scotland2nd January 2 Jan2 Jan
Northern Ireland and EireSt Patrick's Day15 Mar17 Mar
England, Northern Ireland Scotland and Wales (not Eire)Good Friday Bank Holiday21 Mar10 Apr
EireEaster Sunday23 Mar12 Apr
England, Northern Ireland and Wales (not Scotland)Easter Monday Bank Holiday24 Mar13 Apr
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and EireEarly May Bank Holiday (First Monday in May)5 May4 May
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and EireSpring Bank Holiday (Last Monday in May)26 May25 May
Northern IrelandBattle of the Boyne (Orangemen's Day)14 July13 July
Scotland and EireEarly Summer Bank Holiday (First Monday in August)4 Aug3 Aug
England and WalesSummer Bank Holiday (Last Monday in August)25 Aug31 Aug
Northern Ireland and EireOctober Bank Holiday29 Oct26 Oct
ScotlandSt Andrew's Day, 30 November or the next Monday if a weekend1 Dec30 Nov
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and WalesChristmas Day, Bank Holiday25 Dec25 Dec
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and WalesBoxing Day, Bank Holiday26 Dec28 (*2) Dec

(*2) Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of 25th Dec because 25th falls at the weekend

You can find information about bank / public holiday dates in other countries at the following sites:
England, Wales and Northern Ireland

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