par Planet Labor
Several texts concerning labour law are coming into effect this year. They notably plan to toughen sanctions for non-respect of minimum wage, mostly for temp work agencies, employers’ legal liability in industrial accidents or even information and consultation of workers in companies with at least fifty employees.
2008 will be rich in labour law changes: several texts are coming into effect in this area. Here is an overview of the major changes to come.
* Increase in severance pay: the regulation concerning the increase of severance pay, granted by labour courts, (Employment Rights (Increase of limits) Order 2007) will come into effect on February 1, 2008. Thus, the weekly salary – that is the limit on which severance pay is based – will go from £310 to £330 and the maximum amount for unfair dismissal will go from £60.000 to £63.000.
* Sanctions for employers hiring illegal workers: the measures presented by the government last December, aiming at combating illegal work (see our article No. 070986), will come into effect on February 29, 2008. Thus, a new system to control the regularity of the residence permit managed by the Border and Immigration Agency will be created. These controls will probably become automatic, since the employer won’t be able to get away with the fine by pretending they didn’t know about the worker’s situation.
* Strengthening temp workers’ protection: included in the Employment Bill (see our article No. 070952), the provision, which aims at strengthening sanctions when minimum wage is violated, especially in temp work agencies, should be adopted next April. The future law will notably prevent temp work agencies from incorporating into the salary some travel or housing expenses it is supposed to pay for.
* Extending the field of application of the Information and Consultation of Employee Regulations: by virtue of the transitory dispositions of the law transposing Directive 2002/13 on the information and consultation of workers (Information and Consultation of Employee Regulations 2004) will be extended to companies with more than 50 employees from April 6, 2008 (until then, the law only applies to undertakings with more than 100 employees).
* Corporate legal liability: the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (see our article No. 070978) will come into effect in April. From this date on, companies’ whose negligence in terms of health and safety lead to the death of an employee will be liable for legal proceedings as soon as it can be attributed to people with a decision-making power, that is to say senior managers, according to the law. Companies or organizations recognized as responsible by a court could be fined from 2.5% up to 10% of their annual turnover.
* Reforming justice: a consultation on the reform of justice, including labour courts, will end on February 22, 2008. This consultation comes as part of the reform announced by the government last November to modernize courts’ organization to make them faster and more accessible to justiciables.
e-europnews, January 8, 2008, No. 080015 – www.eeuropnews.com