4 May 2021
To mark International Workers’ Day 2021 on 1 May, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued a list of measures the Government has taken to support workers since last year.
The National Living Wage was extended to 23- and 24-year-olds for the first time and is now 33% higher than the minimum wage was in 2015 — that means, according to BEIS, an extra £4000 in annual pay for a full-time worker.
Naming and shaming
In December 2020, BEIS relaunched a scheme which saw 139 employers named and shamed for failing to pay the minimum wage.
Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to Covid-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next two leave years, under measures introduced by the Government.
By introducing “Jack’s Law”, the Government created the new legal right to two weeks’ paid bereavement leave for parents who suffer the loss of a child, irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer.
BEIS ensured that furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave would be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. In addition, the Government introduced a new law to make sure that furloughed employees who are made redundant receive full redundancy payments.
With effect from 6 April 2020, all new agency workers must be given a “key information document” before agreeing terms and conditions with an employment business.
In January 2021, BEIS reported on improving workplace support for domestic abuse victims, including raising awareness and sharing best practice among employers.
Unfair employment clauses
The Government launched a consultation in December 2020 to look at reforming the use of exclusivity and non-complete clauses. The aim was, it said, to “ensure up to 1.8 million low paid workers across the UK can pick up extra work if they want to”. The deadline for submitting comments was 26 February 2021 and the Government is now analysing the feedback.
“And of course,” BEIS concluded, “all this has come alongside the Government’s unprecedented £352 billion package of support to protect jobs and livelihoods through the pandemic, including the extended furlough and self-employed income support schemes.”
A copy of the full Government text can be found here.