It's been a busy few months with the Government suggesting
widespread reform of employment law, often against the wishes of
the majority of those with whom it consulted. Below we look at the
'top ten' you should look out for over the coming year.
1.Parental Leave Increase
This will increase from 13 to 18 weeks in March 2013 in order to
comply with the revised Parental Leave Directive (EC). This remains
an unpaid entitlement.
2.Portable DBS Checks
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously Criminal
Records Bureau (CRB) checks) will from March be accessible online
to all employers who pay a fee to register with the DBS. This
avoids the need for employees to have a new check every time they
start a new job.
3.Reduction in Collective Consultation
From 6 April 2013 the requirement to consult with the workforce
for a minimum period of 90 days (where an employer is proposing to
make 100 or more employees redundant) will be reduced to 45 days.
The minimum period where an employer is proposing to dismiss 20 to
99 employees remains the same, at 30 days.
4.Increase in Statutory Maternity,
Paternity, Adoption and Sick Pay
From 6 April 2013:
Statutory maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay will
increase from £135.45 to £136.78 per week.
Statutory sick pay is due to increase from £85.85 to
£86.70 per week.
The new "Employee-Shareholder" status is still due to
be introduced in April 2013. Employees forgo certain employment
rights, such as unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, in
return for between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in
their employer which would be exempt from capital gains tax.
6.Changes to the Equality
In May 2013 liability for third-party harassment and
discrimination questionnaires will be repealed.
7.Changes to Whistleblowing
Also in May 2013 the availability of whistleblowing protection
will become more limited. A 'disclosure' will no longer be
protected unless the employee reasonably believes that the
disclosure is in the public interest. This would prevent
employees from relying on whistleblowing protection in relation to
a breach of their own contracts of employment.
8.Fees for Tribunal Claims
In July/August 2013 Claimants who issue a claim in the
Employment Tribunal will be required to pay a fee. The current
proposal is that there will be an initial fee when the Claimant
issues the claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a
hearing. The level of fee will depend on the complexity of the
claim. However, many individuals on low incomes may not be required
to pay the full fees – under a remission system similar to
that available in the civil courts' services which exempts
those on income support.
9.Amendment to Cap for Unfair
Another change that is due to take place in the Summer of 2013
is the amendment to the cap for compensation in unfair dismissal
claims, currently £74,200. Under the new rules, compensation
awards will be restricted to an overall cap of 12 months'
wages. Employees earning above the cap will however remain subject
to the upper limit of £74,200.
10.Changes to PAYE
The HMRC is introducing a new way of reporting PAYE, called Real
Time Information (RTI). Employers will be legally required to
report PAYE in 'real time' - this means that information
about all PAYE payments needs to 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. The new system will be operational from
April 2013 and must be implemented as and when employers receive
the 'invite' to join the system from the HMRC. It is
intended that all organisations will have joined by October
here to find out more about our upcoming seminar, at which we
will be discussing these changes in more detail.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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