Infozone: the briefing – 4/10/10
GOVERNMENT TO NAME AND SHAME COMPANIES THAT FLOUT MINIMUM WAGE RULES
The Government has unveiled plans to name and shame companies that pay workers below the minimum wage, as the new rates for the national minimum wage come into effect. Employment relations minister Edward Davey told employers that they would have three months to put their houses in order before the scheme starts in January 2011. The new national minimum wage rates are:
â- £4.92 per hour for 18 to 20-year-olds
â- £3.64 for 16 to 17-year-olds
For the first time there is also an apprentice minimum wage of £2.50 per hour. The new rate applies to those apprentices who are under 19 or those aged 19 and over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship. Davey said: "Bad publicity can be a powerful weapon in the fight against employers who try to cheat their workers and their competitors. Their reputation can be badly damaged if they are seen to be flouting the law."
EQUALITY ACT TAKES EFFECT
Employers will be banned from asking job applicants about their health after most provisions of the 2010 Equality Act take effect from today (1 October). Among other changes to the law is the introduction of a measure to stop pay secrecy clauses being used to hide unfair differences between what men and women are paid. Around 90% of the Act comes into force today, after it was pushed through Parliament by Labour minister Harriet Harman before the General Election. The Government has yet to implement some other more controversial elements of the Act as yet, such as the requirement for large organisations to publish the gap in pay between male and female employees, and the right of employers to use "positive action" to recruit more female or ethnic minority staff. The Act brings together nine separate pieces of legislation, including the Equal Pay Act.