28th January 2008


 Issue No.  2009/01




The Health and Safety Offences Act 2008 came into force on 16th January 2009. This new Act increases penalties and provide courts with greater sentencing powers for those who break health and safety law. 
The Act gives lower courts (Magistrates) the power to impose higher fines for some health and safety offences. There are no new duties on employers or businesses and HSE is not changing its approach to how it enforces health and safety law. 
The effect of the Act is to:
  • raise the maximum fine which may be imposed in the lower courts to £20,000 for most health and safety offences; 
  • make imprisonment an option for more health and safety offences in both the lower and higher courts; 
  • make certain offences, which are currently triable only in the lower courts, triable in either the lower or higher courts.
The main increases that come into force on 1st February 2009 are:
Guarantee Payment
  • Guarantee Pay daily rate increases from £20.40 to £21.50
This guarantee payment is only paid for a limited period during a period of lay off and the new rate will apply when an employee has been laid off after 1st February 2009.
Unfair Dismissal Compensation and “a week’s pay”
  • maximum compensatory award for Unfair Dismissal to rise from £63,000 to £66,200
  • maximum on a 'week's pay' for redundancy pay calculation to increase from £330 to £350
These figures will apply to dismissals effected after 1st February 2009.




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