Hello again Blog,
Here is, in no particular order, a top 10 of what is coming Employment Law wise to the UK this year.
1. The long awaited and long titled Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
Among other things, the wide-ranging Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which has been spearheaded by business secretary Vince Cable, implements various reforms to the employment tribunal system; permits employers to have a “protected conversation” with an employee with a view to terminating his or her employment under a settlement agreement; and allows the secretary of state to change the limit on the unfair dismissal award. This is looking into reducing the overall unfair dismissal award totals (which normally rise every year) to the average wage, or circa £25K.
2. Tribunal Awards Updated
An increase in the limit on the amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal is among the changes taking effect on 1 February 2013. These come into force shortly, however as noted above, they may not stay throughout the year. This remains to be seen, so please watch this space for further information. This is the standard and normal yearly increase.
3. Employee Share Ownership Contracts
The Government is introducing a new type of employment contract, under which employees will be given shares in exchange for waiving certain employment rights. This is or could be very wide ranging. You give up your employment rights, in return for being given shares in your employer. There is little or no detail on this at present and there is more than a little devil in these details. At present the gains would seem to be heavily outweighted by what you would be giving up. Again, details to follow as the are released by the Government.
4. Unpaid Parental Leave Increases
The right to unpaid parental leave increases from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from 8 March 2013. This is extending the existing agreement and was one of the Lib Dems leaders more family friendly policies.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (formerly Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks) are portable between employers, from March 2013.
6. For Collective Redundacy the set time for Consultation drops
The 90-day consultation period where 100 or more redundancies are proposed reduces to 45 days from 6 April 2013.
7. Real Time Information (RTI) for payroll kicks off in April
Employers are required to use real-time information to report payroll deductions before or when they make them, from 6 April 2013 unless a different date is agreed.
8. As usual Statutory increases for Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay increase
The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase from April 2013. No announcement on what these increases are to, but they are coming none the less.
9. SSP increases
The standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from April 2013. Again, no word on what the increase is too, but it increases.
10. Lastly, introduction of fees for bringing cases to Employment Tribunal
The charging of a fee in employment tribunals, under which the claimant has to pay an initial fee to issue a claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing, is introduced in summer 2013. This is a huge change and one that should help this heavily overburdened system. The ET system deals with vastly larger numbers that was ever envisaged, and there are many wide ranging and far reaching changes coming to the ET system in 2013. Again these are being driven by the coalition in their stated aim of reducing red tape. Introduction of fees to even issue a claim should help reduce the spurious claims, which should hopefully reduce the weaker cases that should not move ahead.
So a small summation of changes on the go for Employment Law and Employment Tribunals and overall HR related issues in 2013.
Lots to take in and lots of changes happening.
If you have company handbooks/staff handbooks for telling your staff what your company rules are on disciplinary/grievance/maternity/etc then these will all extensive re writes in the coming months.
If you are an Absolutely HR client, you are covered already, and we will roll these out when the changes come into force in March/April 2013.
If you are not one of our clients, then please feel free to contact us for your no fee HR Healthcheck.