, New Laws from the 1st October 2015

From the 1st of October 2015, the following changes and extensions will be made to the following:

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

National Minimum Wage (NMW)

Extension of Sikh safety helmet exemption

Tobacco, e-cigarettes and smoking

30-day refund right

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, to take effect from October 2015. Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

If your rent a home from now on, your landlord will be required by law to install smoke alarms on all of its floors.

Carbon monoxide alarms are also required in all rooms with solid fuel burning appliances.

This rule applies to England; housing is a devolved issue in Wales and Scotland.

 

National Minimum Wage (NMW)

The NMW rates are now as follows from October are as follows:

£6.70 per hour for a worker who is aged 21 years or over;

£5.30 per hour for a worker who is aged 18 years or over (but is not yet aged 21 years);

£3.87 per hour for a worker who is aged under 18 years;

£3.30 per hour for a worker to whom the apprenticeship rate applies

 

Extension of Sikh safety helmet exemption

The change means that there will be a specific rule that employers that normally require staff to wear protective headgear in environments where there is a significant risk of head injury will have to exempt Sikhs employees who wear a turban from the requirement. This exemption has been extended to all other workplaces, with limited exceptions for certain roles in the Armed Forces and emergency services.

 

Tobacco, e-cigarettes and smoking

It is now illegal in England and Wales to smoke in a car carrying someone under the age of 18. The law doesn’t apply to anyone driving in a convertible with the roof down, and doesn’t apply to vaping an electronic cigarette.

For retailers to sell electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or e-liquids to someone under 18.

For adults to buy (or try to buy) tobacco products or e-cigarettes for someone under 18.

To smoke in private vehicles that are carrying someone under 18.

The fixed penalty notice fine for both offences is £50. Somebody who commits both offences can get 2 fines. Private vehicles must be carrying more than one person to be smoke free, so somebody who is 17 and smoking alone in a private vehicle isn’t committing an offence.

Enforcement officers (usually the police) will use their discretion to decide whether to issue a warning or a fixed penalty notice, or whether to refer an offence to court.

 

Parking grace period

If you park a car in a private car park, you are now entitled to a ten minute grace period after your ticket expires.

You can’t be fined for ten minutes after the time shown on the ticket.

The 10 minute grace period applies in parking bays in the following instances;

  • at the start of controlled hours when the bay reverts from being uncontrolled to controlled
  • upon expiry of a paid for session during controlled hours
  • upon expiry of a permitted ‘free’ parking period during controlled hours (eg a maximum stay)

The 10 minute grace period does not apply in the following instances;

  • anywhere outside of a parking bay, for example on yellow lines, loading bans, footway, when double parked etc
  • where a vehicle is parked in a permitted parking bay during controlled hours without permission, without a permit or without having made payment (beyond the first 10 minutes of control).

30-day refund right

Anybody who buys faulty goods is now entitled to a refund for up to 30 days after their purchase.

Previously rules only required refunds for a “reasonable time”, dependant on the item in question.

The proposals were included in the Consumer Right Act. Purchases made online are subject to additional consumer rights.

There will also be new protection for people who buy digital content, such as e-books or online films and music.

They will be entitled to a replacement, if the downloads do not work, but not a refund.

If a download also infects a computer with a virus, the provider could also be liable to pay compensation for getting the virus removed.