MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
Nearly one million workers are expected to benefit from the minimum wage increase. Several law changes have come into force this month relating to the national minimum wage, tips and statutory redundancy payments.
From 1 October, the national minimum wage rose by seven pence to £5.80 per hour, and employers can no longer use tips to make up the minimum wage.
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: "The raise is a modest one but it will put extra cash in the pockets of some of the UK's lowest-paid workers."
The maximum weekly amount for calculating unfair dismissal and redundancy payments has risen from £350 to £380.
Employers will also be expected to pay for their staff parking, with the option to pass charges to employees. This will be launched as a pilot scheme in Nottingham but implementation of the law will not occur until 2012.
SICKNESS ABSENCE TO DECLINE
Sickness absence will decline by a quarter over the next year because people will be too scared not to show up for work.
A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that private sector employers had already noticed a 20% drop in sickness absence as fears over job security mounted.
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said that employees fearful of job security would continue to work even when ill.
"Sickness absence will drop dramatically. There will be an element which is not stress-related but it will drop by 20-25% at a time when it has been rising steadily," he told delegates at a Working Families conference in London last week.