Advice and guidance services currently provided by the Pay and Work Rights Helpline will transfer to Acas from 1 April. The Acas Helpline will, in addition to their usual services, answer queries on:
The National Minimum Wage
Working for an employment agency
Working hours, rest breaks and holidays
Agricultural workers’ rights
Working for a gangmaster.
The new arrangement will allow for a “one-stop shop” service for employers and employees who will be able to contact Acas for free and confidential advice on all employment rights and workplace issues.
Acas advice can be accessed either online: www.acas.org.uk/helplineonline or by phone on 0300 123 1100 between 8 am to 8 pm Mondays to Fridays and 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. This number costs the same to call as geographic 01/02 numbers, even from a mobile phone. It is included in callers’ free minutes on their landline and mobile tariffs. The current Pay and Work Rights Helpline is a 0800 number, which costs between 7p and 40p per minute for callers from a mobile phone. As the majority of calls to the Pay and Work Rights Helpline are from mobiles, the new arrangement is likely to be cheaper overall for users.
Having spoken to an Acas adviser, if an individual or third party wishes to make a complaint, Acas will transfer their call to the relevant Government enforcement body. Individuals and third parties will continue to be able to complain directly online to the relevant Government enforcement body as follows:
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)—about the National Minimum Wage
Employment Agency Standards inspectorate—about employment agency legislation (except Agency Worker Regulations)
Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA)—about agency workers in agriculture, horticulture, shellfish gathering or associated processing and packaging
Health and Safety Executive (HSE)—about working time issues, including maximum weekly working hours
DEFRA—about agricultural wages
Customers who ring the current Pay and Work Rights Helpline number from 1 April will receive an automated message advising them to ring the Acas Helpline. This automated message will be in place for at least the next 12 months.
More information on the above can also be found on www.gov.uk.