News in brief: minimum wage, liability law, growth, HR

News in brief
News in brief

Minimum wage workers to get a pay rise

The government has announced new minimum wage rates following recommendations from the Low Pay Commission.

The recommendations for the rates of the minimum wage affecting workers under 25 and apprentices to apply from 1 October 2016 include:

• the effective new minimum wage for 21-24 year olds, where the Government agreed that it should increase by 3.7 per cent to £6.95 an hour

• an increase in the Youth Development Rate, affecting 18-20 year olds, of 4.7 per cent to £5.55 an hour

• an increase in the 16-17 Year Old Rate of 3.4 per cent to £4.00 an hour

• an increase in the Apprentice Rate of 3 per cent to £3.40 an hour.

For workers aged 25 and over, the Government is introducing the £7.20 National Living Wage - in effect a fifth minimum wage rate - from 1 April 2016. The LPC will make recommendations this Autumn on the rate of the National Living Wage to apply from April 2017, bearing in mind the Government’s ambition for the rate to reach 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020, subject to sustained economic growth. It will continue to advise on the other rates on its previous basis: protecting as many low-paid workers as possible without damaging jobs or the economy.

The key focus for these recommendations was the position of 21-24 year olds because - as a consequence of the introduction of the National Living Wage - this group effectively becomes a new age band within the minimum wage (the previous adult rate - applicable to workers 21 and over - now only affects these workers).

SMEs can he held responsible for employee’s negligent acts

Businesses could be liable if an employee commits a negligent act while at work, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The landmark judgement, which was confirmed this week, will have considerable consequences on the way employers train and monitor their staff, according to North West law firm Kirwans. Kirwans have called the judgement “extremely significant” and one that could have far-reaching implications.

The warning comes after Morrisons were held responsible for the actions of an employee who kicked and punched a customer at a store’s petrol forecourt in Birmingham in 2008. Ahmed Mahmoud, who was assaulted by Morrison’s worker Amjid Khan on the supermarket’s premises, the Supreme Court ruled Morrisons were “vicariously liable” for Mr Khan’s actions.

Personal Injury solicitor James Barker said: “The Supreme Court’s judgement is extremely significant and could open the floodgates for similar cases where an employee commits a negligent act, in a place of work, during working hours. Under this new ruling, liability is no longer a matter for the individual alone; the employer will now also be accountable.”

HR managers’ time wasted with unnecessary tasks

HR managers are struggling to focus on the high value activities that attracted them to the profession, due to spending two days a week, on average, on unnecessary administrative tasks.

That’s according to a guide released today by ServiceNow, the enterprise cloud company, which explores how HR managers can make the switch from process to people to create a high value, strategically-led business service.

Current administrative processes are causing a big productivity drain for HR departments, with a third of their time spent answering routine questions, most often by email, time and time again. Inefficiencies are also rife in the onboarding process, a process that is usually standardised and could easily be automated, with typically 10 or more interactions and five departments needed to get ready for an employee’s first day at work.

Unexpected growth puts SMEs at risk

Nine-in-ten (89%) organisations across the globe were left exposed to significant business dangers in 2015, due to the impact of unplanned growth that happened as a result of a growth surge.

New international research from Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software, has unveiled the potential pitfalls of business growth, when it is unplanned.

Of those surveyed globally, 58% of businesses reported growth in 2015 and nearly 70% expect to grow in 2016, however only 11% experienced growth totally in line with their plans in 2015. The business leaders surveyed admitted they often fear the consequences of growth, citing a number of negative impacts when growth is not planned for effectively. Half (48%) said they worry that business growth puts excessive pressure on operations, damaging quality and customer satisfaction. A substantial number of businesses (42%) were also concerned that their business IT systems may prove unable to cope with managing a larger, more complex, business model. The top concern cited by CEOs was the perceived loss of customer intimacy that may come about as a result of growth.