Low-paid workers could receive statutory sick pay for the first time
Employees must earn at least the equivalent of 14 hours on the minimum wage to receive statutory sick pay (earn at least £118 a week). The government is consulting on proposed changes to extend eligibility to those earning below the current threshold. The Department for Work and Pensions said the proposals would include workers on freelance or short-term contracts, as long as they met certain criteria.
The government is also looking at ways to make statutory sick pay more flexible to reduce the number of people who quit work after a period of sickness. This could include allowing phased returns to work, in which the employee would continue to receive statutory sick pay and offering small businesses who help employees return to work a rebate. Consideration will also be given to whether to change legal guidance to encourage employers to intervene early during a period of sickness absence e.g. employees could be given the right to request modifications to their working patterns to help them return to work.
Wage growth at highest rate since 2008
Wage growth in the UK rose to 3.6% in the year to May 2019, the highest growth rate since 2008, according to Office for National Statistics figures.
A record high of 32.75 million people were in employment up to the end of May, while 1.29 million were out of work, the lowest since at least 1992. Two factors which have contributed to the wage growth to rise are changes made in April – some NHS staff had pay increases and the new National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates were introduced. The average regular pay, before tax and other deductions, was estimated at £503 a week.
However, once the figure is adjusted for the impact of inflation, average pay becomes £468, still below levels before the 2008 financial crisis.
Workers from ethnic minority groups earned 3.8% less than their white British counterparts on average in 2018, according to a report published by the Office for National Statistics. This has decreased from 4.2% the previous year.
Facebook scam advert reporting tool
Facebook has launched a new tool to allow UK Facebook users to report fake adverts. Often scam adverts use fake celebrity images or endorsements, which can now be reported. Facebook agreed to give £3 million to Citizens Advice to build a new service to help victims of online fraudsters.
To report an advert on Facebook, users will now be able to click on the three dots in the top corner of every advert to see more options. On top of the usual ones, there is also the option to “send a detailed scam report” after choosing to “report ad”.
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Government consultation on tenants’ deposits
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has launched a consultation looking at the barriers which tenants face when needing to provide a deposit for a move to a new property at a time when their current landlord already holds a deposit for an existing property which has not yet been returned. The MHCLG is also looking at possible solutions, which could involve a swifter return of deposits to tenants on the ending of a tenancy, or innovative approaches such as creating a method to transfer a deposit from one tenancy to another.