We originally issued this guide in January 2013 and then revised it in June. However, things have moved on again with the Government confirming the commencement dates of 29 July 2013 for settlement agreements and a new statutory cap in unfair dismissal cases. Therefore, we have revised it once again. When we said “employment law moves quickly” it was an understatement!
We will of course continue to keep you up to date on all of the developments as they happen via our events and monthly ebulletins. If you would like any further information about any of the topics mentioned, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The printable version can be found here.
Employment Tribunal compensation limits increased – please see our article on the increases here.
8 March 2013
Parental leave increased from 13 to 18 weeks – see out article on the details of this here.
1 April 2013
The standard rates for statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay increased. Maternity allowance also increased. For the increased rates please see our update here.
6 April 2013
- Collective redundancy consultation decreased from 90 days to 45 days, where redundancies are proposed for 100 or more employees. Please see our article on this change here.
- This date marked the first year anniversary since the qualifying period for unfair dismissal was increased from 51 weeks to 103 weeks. Employees who started on or after 6 April 2012 will not have the requisite service to bring a claim until March 2014.
Therefore, instead of considering whether an employee has “more than a year’s service” (as we have been used to doing) it will be important to look at the employee’s start date in order to consider whether they would qualify for an unfair dismissal claim. Our article on the increase can be found here.
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) increased from £85.85 to £86.70 per week. The weekly earnings threshold to be eligible for SSP will also rise from £107 to £109.
- HMRC required employers to report PAYE in real-time. This means that information about all PAYE payments must be submitted to HMRC online each time a payment is made as part of the payroll process, rather than at the end of the year as is the current set up. HMRC guidance is available here.
17 June 2013
Disclosure and Barring checks (DBS checks – formerly CRB checks) will become portable across employers with an online service allowing employers to check whether new information has been added since the original check was undertaken.
25 June 2013
- Whistleblowing changes:
- A public interest requirement to whistleblowing disclosures will be introduced. This will close a loophole in whistleblowing legislation which meant that a worker could whistle blow about a breach of their own contract of employment. This was clearly not the intention of the legislation since whistleblowing should concern matters such as criminal activity or breaches of legal obligations.
- The requirement for whistleblowing disclosures to be made in good faith will be removed. However, Employment Tribunals will have the power to reduce any compensation by up to 25% where a disclosure is not made in good faith.
- The definition of a worker will be extended.
- Unfair dismissal:
An employee who is dismissed for a reason related to their political opinion or affiliation will not require any period of service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal. Please see our article on the case that sparked this change here.
- Employment Appeal Tribunal:
Judges in the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be able to sit alone on appeals. This follows on from a reform put into practice in 2012 whereby Employment Tribunal judges can sit alone in unfair dismissal cases.
29 July 2013
- Claimants will have to pay fees to issue a claim in the Employment Tribunals. The Ministry of Justice has released a press release on the introduction of fees which can be found here. Our article on the original proposals to introduce fees can be found here.
- The new Employment Tribunal rules will apply. For those who want to know more, you can see our previous article here.
The statutory cap on the compensatory element of an unfair dismissal award will be the lower of £74,200 or one year’s pay.
- ‘Compromise agreements’ are to be renamed ‘Settlement agreements’. Employers and employees will be allowed to enter into certain confidential discussions about termination of employment, which will not be admissible in “ordinary” unfair dismissal claims. Acas has also produced a Code of Practice on Settlement Agreements. Please see our article on settlement agreements here.
- Employers may be vicariously liable for any of their staff who victimise whistleblowers. However, employers will have a defence if they took reasonable steps to prevent this from happening. Our article about this change (and others) can be found here.
Employers may be vicariously liable for any of their staff who victimise whistleblowers. However, employers will have a defence if they took reasonable steps to prevent this from happening. Our article about this change (and others) can be found here.
Please note that there may be further changes to whistleblowing law in 2014 as the Government has issued a new call for evidence on the current law.
1 September 2013
- Legislation to allow employee shareholders (employees who exchange some of their employment rights for shares) comes into force – see our article on the details here.
1 October 2013
Removal of the third party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010 – see out article on this change here.
October 2013 (there are already hints this date may be postponed)
- Changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE):
- No requirements for Employee Liability Information to be given by transferor to transferee (but must provide reasonable information).
- Easier to change and harmonise terms of employment after transfer.
- Specifying a time period when changes to collective agreements cannot be made after a transfer (possibly one year) to bring us in line with the EU Acquired Rights Directive.
Our article on the changes can be found here.
- The Government is proposing to change the remission system which deals with when claimants are exempt from the requirement (either in full or in part) to pay court or Tribunal fees. It is expected that the new remission system will deal with capital as well as income, whereas the current system is income-focused.
Also happening in 2013?
- The Government is expected to respond on the points about annual leave that were included in the Consultation on Modern Workplaces that was held in May 2012. This proposed that the Working Time Regulations are amended to address the issue of holidays during periods of sick leave, as well as other aspects of annual leave.
- The Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 are likely to be repealed and replaced them with a new regulatory framework. The response to the consultation was published on 11 July 2013.
- Legislation may come into force regulating internships. Please see our article on these proposals here.
Looking into 2014 & 2015
- April 2014 – The Acas four-step pre claim conciliation process is to be launched. The Government published their response to the consultation on the process on 12 July 2013.
- 6 April 2014 – discrimination questionnaires are to be brought to an end. Please see out article on this change here.
- Employment Tribunals can impose fines on respondent employers who lose a case where there are “one or more aggravating features.” Minimum will be £100 and maximum £5,000. This was reported as coming into force on 25 October 2013, but a very recent timetable has backtracked from this date. A new date for implementation is awaited.
- A new Health & Work Advisory and Assessment Service is likely to be introduced in 2014. The service will provide (amongst other things) state funded occupational health testing for employees who are off sick for more than four weeks. The Department for Work & Pensions announcement on this can be found here.
- The provisions in the Children and Families Bill will come into force, including aspects related to flexible parental leave and flexible working. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the changes in November 2012 and our article on his announcement can be found here.
- TUPE change – there is likely to be an exclusion of service provision changes from TUPE. The Government will have a lead in period for this change, and the implementation date has not yet been announced. Our article on this change (amongst others) can be found here.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).