Ask an Ealing Expert - Louise Taft of JR Jones Solicitors

If you have a job or employees these law tips are essential reading


Are you an expert in your field who lives/works in Ealing? Care to share your knowledge? Get in touch with us at

Sign up for our free newsletter

Comment on this story on the Ealing forum

In the first of a regular monthly column on Employment rights, Louise Taft of JR Jones Solicitors sets out the new legislation that came into force on 1 October…

Minimum Wage

From 1 October the minimum wage increases to…

Workers aged 22 & over £5.52/hr
Workers aged 18-21 £4.60/hr
Workers aged 16-17 £3.40/hr

Holiday pay

The right to paid holiday increases to 4.8 weeks. This is part of a two stage increase designed to ensure that all workers will eventually be entitled to 4 weeks holiday plus Bank Holidays. Some employers currently include Bank Holidays within the minimum 4 weeks paid holiday.

There is no right to holiday on Bank Holidays: if a business opens on a Bank Holiday, employees can be required to work. This extra right is effectively giving workers the right to time off in lieu. Remember that employers can tell their workers when they have to take their holiday – so if the business closes on a Bank Holiday, workers can be required to use one of their paid holidays to cover it.

The Regulations are, as usual, complicated. The right is calculated by reference to a week. So a person working 5 days per week gets 24 days. A part time worker is entitled to holidays pro rata.

The increase is dependant on when a holiday leave year starts. If your leave year is 1 October – 30 September, then workers are entitled to the extra 0.8 weeks for the 2007/2008 year. All other leave years need to give the correct proportion of extra days for this year and the extra 0.8 weeks for next year. Got that?

The right will go up to 5.6 weeks on 1 April 2009. So by then a worker working 5 days per week will be entitled to 28 days – i.e. 4 weeks plus the usual Bank Holidays. Strangely though, workers working more than 5 days per week will still only be entitled to 4 weeks plus 8 days. Yet again this government introduces complicated Employment legislation!

There are transitional provisions allowing employees to get pay in lieu or carry forward their extra entitlement for this year only.

No change to the Sex Discrimination Act – yet

We were expecting yet more changes to the Sex Discrimination Act this October because the High Court found recently that the government had not properly implemented changes required by European law. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform recently announced that they weren’t going to make the 1 October deadline so we don’t yet know exactly what those changes will be.

The changes needed are to the prevention of sexual harassment and discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and maternity leave. The High Court found that the legislation didn’t properly protect employees from sexual harassment from third parties, such as customers. The changes needed to pregnancy and maternity discrimination are technical but broadly relate to the need to compare the woman discriminated against to someone who is not pregnant or taking maternity leave – not needed according to the High Court.

Changes before April 2008 are unlikely.

A new dawn – the Commission for Equality and Human Rights

The Commission for Equality and Human Rights opened its doors on 1 October. It replaces the Equal Opportunities Commission, Commission for Racial Equality and Disability Rights Commission. It will be responsible for working to prevent discrimination on grounds of not just sex, race and disability but also sexual orientation, religion and age.

Special offer to readers

Louise offers a free 20 minute telephone consultation to readers needing Employment advice. To take advantage of this offer call her on 020 8231 0442 and quote


October 5, 2007