Burnetts logo

Employment Law & HR FAQs

'a quality service' Legal 500

Employment Law & HR FAQs

Burnetts' employment law solicitors answer your Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is the current rate of Statutory Sick Pay?

£88.45 per week

What are the current National Minimum Wage Rates?

• £7.50 - the main rate for workers aged 25 and over
• £7.05 - the 21-24 rate
• £5.60 - the 18-20 rate
• £4.05 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
• £3.50 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

What is the National Living Wage?

This was introduced on 1st April 2016 and is for over 25s.  The rate is £7.50 per hour.

What are the qualifying criteria for Statutory Maternity Pay?

An employee must have been employed by the same employer continuously for at least 26 weeks when she reaches the 15th week before the week in which the baby is due (the qualifying week).  The employee must also be earning, on average, an amount which at least equals the lower earnings limit which applies on the Saturday at the end of the qualifying week

What is the current lower earnings limit?

£112 per week for the current tax year.

How much Statutory Maternity Pay will an employee receive?

An employee should receive 90 per cent of her average gross weekly earnings with no upper limit for the first six weeks and for the remaining 33 weeks at the lower of either the standard rate of £140.98 per week, or 90 per cent of her average gross weekly earnings.

What is Additional Statutory Paternity Leave?

Additional paternity leave is the concept through which some of the mother’s maternity leave and, in most cases pay, can be transferred to the father.  Additional paternity leave is for a maximum of 26 weeks. 

Provided the mother has returned to work, the Additional Paternity leave can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after the child is born or placed for adoption. The employee taking Additional Paternity Leave is entitled to receive Additional Statutory Paternity Pay for the balance of his or her partner's Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or Adoption Pay period.

How many years’ service do I need to be eligible for a Statutory Redundancy Payment?

2 years

How many years’ service is needed to raise a claim for unfair dismissal?

2 years service for employees who started their employment on or after 6 April 2012. Employees with continuous service that began before this date will only need 1 year's service to raise an unfair dismissal claim.

Can an employee be made to retire at 65?

Since 6 April 2011, dismissing an employee solely on the basis that they have reached the age of 65 is no longer a fair reason for dismissal.  However, employers may be able to use a default retirement age providing that it can be objectively justified.

Is an employee entitled to get all bank holidays off?

This is dependent upon what it states in the employee’s contract of employment.  There is NO automatic right to leave on a bank holiday.  If all statutory holidays are included in the employee’s holiday entitlement then it may be that the employee has a contractual right to all bank holidays.  However, if it is stipulated in the employment contract that the employee is entitled to a particular number of bank holidays, then it may be that any extra holidays (e.g. royal weddings) may not be included in the employee’s allocation of holidays and if the employee wanted to take the day off on one of those additional days he or she would have to apply for leave using the employer’s normal processes.

What is Redundancy?

Redundancy is defined by s.139 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 as a dismissal which is “wholly or mainly attributable to - 

(a) the fact that the employer has ceased or intends to cease - 
(i) to carry on the business for the purposes of which the employee was employed, or
(ii) to carry on that business in the place where the employee was so employed, or
(b) the fact that the requirements of that business - 
(i) for employees to carry out work of a particular kind, or
(ii) for employees to carry out work of a particular kind in the place where the employee was employed by the employer, 
have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish."

What is flexible working?

Flexible working is any change in working pattern from the employees normal working hours or days.  It can include, amongst other things, part-time work, reduced hours, later or earlier start or finish times, compressed hours or annualised hours.

Any employee with more than 26 weeks’ continuous service has the right to request a flexible working arrangement with his or her employer and the employer is under an obligation to properly consider that request fairly and within a reasonable timescale.  

What is whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing is the phrase given to a situation whereby an employee makes a ‘qualifying disclosure,’ (reveals information or facts) which is normally to the detriment of his or her employer.  If the disclosure qualifies as a protected disclosure, and the employee is dismissed for making it, he or she will be able to claim that their dismissal was automatically unfair.  Workers are also protected from suffering any detriment as a result of making a qualifying disclosure.

What is direct discrimination?

A type of discrimination that occurs where, because of a protected characteristic, a person (A) treats another person (B) less favourably than A treats or would treat others (section 13(1), Equality Act 2010). 

What is indirect discrimination?

A type of discrimination  that occurs where person A applies to person B an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice that A would apply equally to others, but which puts or would put those who share B's protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage. There will be no discrimination if the use of provision, criterion or practice can be objectively justified (section 19 Equality Act 2010).

Who to contact

Natalie Ruane profile photo

Natalie Ruane

Natalie jointly leads the Employment Law & HR team and specialises in education.