With the government recently enacting several changes in employment law, it is important to keep abreast of current legislation and how it affects your rights and responsibilities, whether as an employer or employee.
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
Together with other various other aspects, this detailed bill concentrates on changes to the employment tribunal system. Notably, the reforms will allow employers seeking to terminate a worker’s employment to enter into what is being described as a ‘protected conversation’ with them, with a view to offering a settlement.
Also included in the bill were the following amendments to legislation:
Equal Pay Audits – The Bill enacts a change to the Equality Act 2010 compelling any company that has committed an equal pay breach to carry out an equal pay audit.
Unfair Dismissal Compensation Limits – The Bill also affords the Secretary of State the right to limit compensatory awards for unfair dismissal to the claimant’s median annual earnings, three times the claimant’s median earnings or 52 times his or her weekly pay.
- Revised Tribunal Awards Limit
Limits for compensatory awards for unfair dismissal were increased from £72,300 to £74,000 on 1st February 2013.
- The Introduction of Employee-Shareholder Contracts
Introduced from April 2013, this newly established contract allows employers the right to offer company shares to new and existing staff in exchange for the employee waiving certain specified employment rights. These will include:
– Claims for unfair dismissal.
– Redundancy pay (statutory).
– Statutory ‘Flexi-time’ requests – except where related to the return from parental leave.
– Statutory training or study requests.
- Increase in Parental Leave Entitlement to 18 Weeks
Employees were given the right to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave from 8th March 2013. This was an increase from 13 weeks.
- DBS Checks (Previously CRB Checks) Now Portable Between Employers
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) Checks became portable between employers from March 2013. This effectively ends the requirement for employees working with vulnerable groups to undertake a new background check whenever they change employer.
- Collective Consultation Process Reduced to 45 Days
On the 6th April 2013, the consultation period for proposing 100 or more redundancies was reduced from 90 to 45 days.
- Real-Time Payroll Information
Companies are now required to report any payroll deductions before or when they make them.
- Increase in Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay
From 7th April 2013, the standard rate of maternity, paternity and adoption pay increased to £136.78 from the previous allowance of £135.45 per week.
- Statutory Sick Pay Rate Increase
Statutory sick pay increased to £86.70 on 6th April 2013, a rise of 85 pence per week.
- Employment Tribunal Claim Fee Introduced
From summer 2013, the government introduced a system of fees for employment tribunals.
Level 1 Claims
£160 Issue Fee
£230 Hearing Fee
Level 2 Claims
£250 Issue Fee
£950 Hearing Fee
The government claims that the new charges are meant to ensure that people make a financial contribution to the system rather than leaving the taxpayer to meet the full cost of employment tribunals.
If you have encountered a situation which requires you to consult a lawyer, then employment law specialists Qualitysolicitors can provide you with the advice you need.
Samon Bagons is a financial writer who has profound knowledge on the contemporary financial world. He loves to contribute his articles to various financial communities, websites and blogs so that people who are going through distress, can read and help themselves get out of the debt mess.