Friday, March 07, 2008

Changes for employers

From 29 February 2008, the penalty scheme for employing illegal workers will be tougher. Employers who employ illegal migrant workers are liable to a new civil penalty. The Act makes it unlawful to employ an adult subject to immigration control if they do not have valid leave to enter or remain in the UK and who doesn't have permission to do the work offered. Employers who engage illegal immigrant workers face a maximum penalty of £10,000 for each illegal worker (previously £5,000 under the Asylum & Immigration Act 1996). The employer in breach may be served with a civil penalty notice requiring payment and must pay unless he can show that he has complied with the "statutory excuse". If the employer can show that he checked the validity of the documents produced by the immigrant and that he retained a copy of such documents for no les than two years, the "statutory excuse" will apply. Of course the employer must come with clean hands − if it can be shown that he knew that the employment was illegal, he will not be excused. The Act creates a new responsibility for employers to check the ongoing entitlement for certain migrant workers to work in the UK at least once every 12 months.

If your businesses is one where live music is played in the workplace or in which recorded music is played. From April 6th, there are new rules which protect workers from exposure to excessive levels of noise. Employers in the music and entertainment sectors may have to take new steps to prevent or reduce risks to health and safety from exposure to noise at work.

From 6 April 2008, employees in firms with 50 or more employees will have the right to be informed and consulted on a regular basis about issues in the business for which they work.

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