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a blog by Chris Barrow

Good leaders need good HR

In my final post on leadership for our DBC theme this week, here is the latest newsletter from Bespoke HR about the new Equality Act: The main updates which come into force from 1st October are described below. The Equality Act The Equality Act will become law in October 2010. As an employer, your obligations remain largely the same. The Act harmonises and replaces previous legislation (such as the Race relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what you need to do to make your workplace a comply with the law. The Equality Act covers the same groups that that were protected by existing equality legislation- age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief , sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. These are now called “protected characteristics”. The Act extends some protections to characteristics that were not previously covered, and also strengthens particular aspects of equality law. As a result, you may need to review and change some of your practices. Pre-employment health-related checks If you routinely use pre-employment questionnaires you are advised to withdraw them. The Equality Act limits the circumstances when you can ask health-related questions before you have offered the individual a job. Up to this point, you can only ask health-related questions to help you to:  Decide whether you need to make and reasonable adjustments from the person to the selection process  Decide whether an applicant can carry out a function that is essential (“intrinsic”) to the job  Monitor diversity among people making applications for jobs.  Take positive action to assist disabled people  Assure yourself that a candidate has the disability where the job genuinely requires the job holder to have a disability. Once a person has passed the interview and you have offered them a job (whether this is an unconditional or conditional job offer) you are permitted to ask appropriate health-related questions. National minimum wage increases from 1st October  Adult rate increases from £5.80 to £5.93 – Adult rate extended to 21 years old from October  Workers from 18years to 20years increases from £4.83 to £4.92  Worker under 18 years old but above school leaving age increases from £3.57 to £3.64 Please do not hesitate to call us if we can help with any of your HR needs

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