This April sees a number of changes to employment law come into force, most of which are compulsory and wide-reaching. Briefly, the ten changes are as follows:
1. Enterprise and Regulatory Reform bill implemented
– Includes various reforms to the employment tribunal system
2. New tribunal award limits
– The limit on the amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £72,300 to £74,200 from the 1st of February 2013
3. Employee-shareholder contracts introduced
4. Unpaid parental leave increases to 18 weeks
– This is an increase from 13 weeks, and applies from the 8th of March
5. DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service, formerly Criminal Records Bureau) checks are portable between employers
6. Collective consultation period reduced to 45 days
– This is reduced from 90 days where 100 or more redundancies are proposed
7. Real-time information must be used for payroll deductions
8. Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases
– The standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases from £135.45 to £136.78 per week
9. Rate of statutory sick pay increases
– Standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from £85.85 to £86.70 per week
10. Fee for bringing employment tribunal claim imposed
– For level 1 claims, the issue fee is £160 and the hearing fee is £230.
– For level 2 claims, the issue fee is £250 and the hearing fee is £950.
– The fees come into effect from summer 2013
These changes in legislation apply to businesses of all sizes, and most of them have already come into force, meaning that many firms could be in a breach of the new rules.
Some of these rules will need little consideration from employers – for example tribunal awards limits and employment tribunal claim fees – as they will automatically change where they apply, however it is still important for them to be kept in mind, particularly in the case of tribunals should an employer be unfortunate enough to be involved in one at some point.