For an easy to print copy of this article, you can download a pdf version of our guide to employment law changes in 2013 here.
We all spent a lot of time trying to keep up with the many employment law reforms announced and consulted on last year. Unfortunately, the reforms keep on coming so it seems this year will be just as busy! Many of the proposed reforms will be coming into force or will be consulted on this year – please see our guide below. Where possible the specific dates for changes have been shown:
- Three new consultations have been released by the Government on the following subjects:
Responses to the consultation on the ACAS early conciliation process must be submitted by 15 February 2013 and the other two close on 11 April 2013. Please see our article on the proposed TUPE reforms here.
- Employment Tribunal compensation limits will increase – please see our article on the increases here.
- 8 March 2013 – Parental leave increases from 13 to 18 weeks – see out article on the details of this here.
- The third party harassment and discrimination questionnaire provisions in the Equality Act 2010 will be repealed – see our article on this here.
- 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.
- 1 April 2013 – The standard rates for statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay will increase. Maternity allowance will also increase. For the increased rates please see our update here.
- 6 April 2013 – Collective redundancy consultation will be decreased from 90 days to 45 days.
- 6 April 2013 – This date marks 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. Our article on the increase can be found here.
- 6 April 2013 – Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £85.85 to £86.70 per week. The weekly earnings threshold to be eligible for SSP will also rise from £107 to £109.
- 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.
- The Children and Families Bill is to be introduced. This will contain a wide range of measures related to families, but is likely to also include 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.
- 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 whilstleblowing should concern matters such as criminal activity or breaches of legal obligations. For a general overview of whistleblowing and the current law, please refer to our previous article here.
- This one is more for lawyers – new rules of procedure will be introduced for Employment Tribunals. For those who want to know more, you can see our previous article here.
- HMRC will require 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.
Also happening in 2013
- ACAS will release a Statutory Code of Practice about settlement agreements and negotiations. This is anticipated to be released within the next few months following the Government’s recent response to the consultation on Ending the Employment Relationship. Our article on the original consultation can be found here.
- Fees to lodge a claim will be introduced in the Employment Tribunals – this is anticipated to be introduced in summer 2013 (and speculated to be July). 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 unfair dismissal compensatory award will be capped at the lower of one year’s pay or the statutory limit in place at the time. This is expected to be in place in summer 2013.
- Some aspects of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13 are due to come into force:
- Enhanced shareholder rights regarding directors’ remuneration.
- Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
- Changes to employment tribunal procedure and the orders an Employment Tribunal can make.
- Employment Appeal Tribunal judges are to sit alone. This follows on from a reform put into practice in 2012 whereby Employment Tribunal judges can sit alone in unfair dismissal cases.
- 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 Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) will be reformed in line with the proposals in the current consultation.
- An ACAS early conciliation process will be introduced as a formal part of the Employment Tribunal procedure to issue a claim.
- The Employment Agencies Act 1973 and the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 will be repealed and replaced them with a new regulatory framework as indicated in the current consultation.
- Legislation will come into force regulating internships. Please see our article on these proposals here.
Looking into 2014
- A new Health & Work Advisory and Assessment Service will 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.
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]).
Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.