Dismissing Fairly Workshop – Friday 31 March 2017

Scottish Engineering’s legal team will be conducting a Dismissing Fairly Workshop on Friday 31st March 2017, which will be held in our offices at 105 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1QL

Lindsey Miller and Claire Platts are solicitors who have over 35 years’ experience in employment law, providing legal advice and representing companies at Employment Tribunals.

You can find more information by clicking on the Events & Meetings icon at the top of this page, or by following this link:  Dismissing Fairly Workshop – 31 March 2017

 

Final Draft of Gender Pay Gap Regulations published

The final draft of the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 has been published and the Regulations are due to come into force on 6th April 2017 subject to Parliamentary approval. There have been a number of important changes made to the previous draft regulations which were published earlier this year as follows:-

1. Relevant Employers – This is a private or voluntary sector employer with 250 or more employees on the relevant date which is 5th April in the relevant year. This is based on employees of a particular entity rather than being group based. Public sector employers are now expressly outwith the scope but the Government plans to introduce similar reporting obligations for public sector employers shortly.

2. Relevant Employees – This has now been altered to “a person who is employed by the employer on the relevant snapshot date (5th April)”. It has now been clarified that the wider definition of employment applies and therefore will include workers and self-employed contractors who are under a contract personally to do work. Partners (including LLP members) are now expressly excluded. There is an exception in the reporting duty in relation to anyone in respect of whom the employer does not have the relevant data and it is not reasonably practicable for it to obtain that data eg. where the contractor is paid a fixed price and no records are made of hours worked. Employees are also now excluded from the pay reporting obligation if they receive less than full pay as a result of leave, eg employees on sick leave, maternity leave or shared parental leave.

3. Snapshot Date – This is the date on which employers must record pay data for reporting purposes and has been altered from 30th April to 5th April.

4. Ordinary Pay – This includes basic pay, allowances (but not out of pocket expenses) pay for piece work, pay for fully paid leave and shift premium pay.

5. Bonus Pay – This is now defined as any remuneration that is in the form of money, vouchers, securities, securities options or interests in securities and relates to profit sharing, productivity, performance, incentive or commission. It does not include overtime pay or remuneration referable to redundancy or termination of employment. The relevant period for bonus pay reporting is the 12 month period ending on the snapshot date ie. for the first gender pay gap report between 6th April 2016 and 5th April 2017 and will include all relevant employees ie. those on unpaid leave are included in this reporting requirement. Gender pay gap reporting is based on the hourly rate of pay which includes both ordinary pay and bonus pay paid during the relevant pay period. Where bonus pay is referable to a period longer than the relevant pay period eg. an annual bonus, then only a pro-rata amount is taken into account when calculating the hourly pay in the pay reference period.

6. Quartiles – This reporting requirement only applies to full pay relevant employees. It has been clarified that each of the 4 pay bands of quartiles must include an equal number of employees and they are to be reclassified as lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay band. The proportion of female full pay relevant employee in each quartile pay band must be expressed as a percentage of the full pay relevant employees within that band.

What Must Be Published?

1. Median and mean gender pay gap figures for pay based on the hourly pay of full pay relevant employees during the relevant pay period. This will include a pro-rata proportion of any bonuses paid during the relevant pay period.

2. Median and mean gender pay gap figure for bonuses paid in the year ending with the snapshot date.

3. The percentage of men and women who receive a bonus.

4. The number of men and the number of women in each pay quartile expressed as a percentage of the total number of full pay relevant employees in each quartile. The information must be published on the employer’s website for at least 3 years in a way that is accessible to all employees and to the public and also on a central website which is to be set up by the Government for that purpose. The figures must be accompanied by a written statement of accuracy signed by a Director or equivalent.

 

Apprenticeship Levy

Starting in April 2017, employers will require to pay the Apprenticeship Levy at 0.5% of their annual wage bill.  Each employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 per year to offset against the levy, meaning that in practice only employers with a wage bill of over £3million will pay the levy.

In Scotland, the system for distribution will differ from that to be established in England and Wales.  The Scottish Government has announced that a Workforce Development Fund is to be established in the autumn of 2017, to which employers will be able to apply for funding to upskill or reskill their employees.  The Workforce Development Fund is to be designed with employers’ input via the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and a working group is to be set up.

Therefore, it appears that the fund will not be restricted to funding for apprenticeships, although it remains a stated aim of the Scottish Government to deliver 30,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts per year by 2020.  In England and Wales, a system of digital vouchers is to be utilised, and at present is to be restricted for use to fund apprenticeships only.

PRIME MINISTER’S BREXIT SPEECH

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s Brexit speech, Bryan Buchan, our Chief Executive, said:

“The issues covered by the Prime Minister were very broadly expressed.  Two areas we really see as being crucial, are that legislation as it applies to business will now be our own preserve and won’t be controlled from Europe.

“In terms of trading with Europe, the fact that we are a vitally important market for both France and Germany should mean that we will not be subject to punitive tariffs.

“After the initial shock of the EU referendum result, engineering businesses in Scotland took up the challenge and are now widening our export trade, and expect to benefit from entering the growing market opportunities.

“Mrs May suggested that our industries were stagnating within the EU.  Let’s hope that we are sufficiently motivated to take advantage of the broader horizons opening up in the currently expanding markets of China, India, Malaysia and Brazil, while taking advantage of our special relationship with the USA.”

FIRST MINISTER’S BREXIT PROPOSALS

Commenting on the First Minister’s Brexit proposals for Scotland today, Bryan Buchan, our Chief Executive, said:

“The First Minister’s “second strand” proposal to devolve business and trade regulations from the UK norm would be totally impractical.  In the unlikely event that Scotland was allowed to be part of an EU while the rest of the UK had left, our manufacturing sector would literally have to adopt two regulatory systems if they were to continue trading with the UK which is recognised as our largest market.

“It would potentially make the tendering process so complicated that customers in the rest of the UK would probably opt for a more local supplier rather than try to accommodate the established Scottish supply chain”

Proposed increases to Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, Shared Parental and Sick Pay announced

These increases are proposed to take effect in April 2017.

  1. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – £89.35 (up from £88.45)
  2. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) – £140.98 (up from £139.58)
  3. Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) – £140.98 (up from £139.58)
  4. Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) – £140.98 (up from £139.58)
  5. Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) – £140.98 (up from £139.58)

It is currently unclear on what date the changes will come into effect as the statement released by the Department for Work and Pensions suggests 10th April 2017.  However, historically these increases have normally occurred on the first Sunday in April, which would be 2nd April 2017.

Members will be kept up-to-date via Members’ Briefings.

 

Press Release – QR December 2016

ENGINEERING INDUSTRY PERKS UP SLIGHTLY

http://www.scottishengineering.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/QR-December-2016.pdf

For the first time in two years, Scotland’s engineering industry appears to be offering hope for the future.

According to our latest Quarterly Review of the industry, there has been an improvement in orders, output and staffing in the final quarter of 2016.  Though, after seven quarters of negative results, this improvement can be seen as coming from a fairly low base.

While the rest of the UK’s manufacturing sector appears to be growing at a greater rate than Scotland’s, Bryan Buchan, our CEO, explained: “We are not yet seeing the benefit of the weak pound due to the simple fact that, excluding oil and gas, the UK accounts for £48bn of Scotland’s total exports, compared to £11.6bn to the EU and £15.2bn to the rest of the world.

“What may provide a benefit to the Scottish manufacturing engineering sector is the decision by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement to increase spending on infrastructure and productivity.  However, that is for the future and our industry needs more orders in the short and medium term.”

The Review figures show that if order intake for the last three months (39%up, 26%same, 35%down) is compared with the industry’s forecast for the next quarter (22%up, 60%same, 18%down) there is a similar positive four-point result.  This is also reflected in output figures as the last quarter shows (33%up, 45%same, 22%down) compared with an improving forecast for the next quarter (36%up, 42%same, 22%down).

Staffing levels show that the number of employees (22%up, 65%same, 13%down) has increased quite substantially more than the overtime levels (29%up, 44%same, 27%down).

 

Scottish Engineering Leaders Award 2017

This free competition, hosted by Primary Engineer and supported by engineers in Scotland, looks to create links between schools and industry by having engineers visit a classroom and chat about themselves and their work in engineering.  After the visit, pupils are asked: If you were an engineer in Scotland, what would you do? 

The wonderful results have included last year’s winner – a trolley for the elderly, a rotating park bench to ensure dry seats, a magnetic bar code in socks to sort them automatically, etc.

So far, we have had 10,000 pupils register for the competition, so we need all the help we can get to inspire the next generation of engineers.

If you could volunteer a couple of hours to visit a school, you can register here Eventbrite and search for the schools who need engineers here Scottish Engineering Leaders Award Map.

 

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ConnectUp – SME Event – Tue 25 October 2016

INVITATION TO ATTEND

The Weir Advanced Research Centre, part of The Weir Group, are holding a joint event in conjunction with Scottish Power, Doosan Babcock, Subsea7 and Stena Line, aimed at identifying new SME partners.

The two event themes, which reflect the broader innovation needs of the host companies, are Industry 4.0 and Energy Efficiency, and the hope is to attract SMEs working in these areas.

As part of the event, they plan to have various organisations exhibit, including ourselves – Scottish Engineering, as well as Scottish Enterprise, AFRC Innovation Centre and various universities, and more.

The day will consist of several networking breaks between presenters, and SMEs will have the opportunity to interact with exhibitors at these times.

The event is free, and to register please click on the link below:

https://connect-up.eventbrite.co.uk

Venue: Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC), University of Strathclyde, 99 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RD

Concerns over apprenticeship levy

Comment by Bryan Buchan, Chief Executive.

Engineering companies throughout Scotland are expressing great concern about the impending apprenticeship levy that will come into effect early next year.

The main reason for their concern is the fact that the application of the scheme has been devolved to the Scottish Government, and while employers across England have been made aware by Westminster how they are going to be affected, Scottish employers are completely in the dark.

Starting on 6 April 2017, HMRC will collect a levy from companies throughout the UK with a wage bill above £3m.  This will be paid dependent on where the companies pay their tax.  Some Scottish companies will, therefore, be paying to Revenue Scotland and others to HMRC UK.

We are being inundated by requests from our member companies who want information on how this levy will be collected, when and how often it will be collected, as well as how they can claim their allowances back and how much they can claim.

The basis of this levy is that the UK Government have said that they want to create 3 million apprentices by 2020 across the UK.  In Scotland, I have received information from colleges and training organisations who already fear that there is going to be a significant downturn in the number of essential apprenticeships in key engineering disciplines in the coming year.

That flags up to employers a huge concern that we will once again be facing a deficit in skilled workers in Scotland within an industry where skills are paramount.

Questions have already been asked of the Employability and Training Department of the Scottish Government, but answers have not been received.

The word from politicians is that they cannot provide answers before the autumn statement, which means that it will be December before any clarity is provided, allowing at best four months to set up a system of delivery which already exists in England.