UK: Some Recent And Forthcoming UK Employment Legislation

Last Updated: 6 March 2009
Article by Andrew Dekany

Date coming into force



27 November 2008


Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, HC1113

Tier 2 of the points based system, making new provision for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area with a UK job offer, including intra-company transferees, was implemented replacing the work permit system. Employers wishing to recruit from outside the European Economic Area must apply for a sponsorship licence unless (the more difficult) tier 1 applies.

1 February 2009


Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2008

Annual increase in upper limits on awards of employment tribunals. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase to £66,200. The cap on a week's pay for calculating statutory redundancy payments will increase to £350. There are no financial limits on awards for discrimination on a range of grounds widened over the past decade.

1 April 2009


The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2007

The statutory minimum paid annual holiday entitlement for a full-time worker will increase from 24 to 28 days. It will not be possible to replace the additional holiday entitlement by a payment in lieu. However, employers will remain free to include UK bank and public holidays in the entitlement if contracts allow.

6 April 2009


Employment Rights Act 1996 TBA

Despite the recession, the Government is pressing ahead with an extension of flexible working rights to all parents of older children under 16. Parents with children under 6 (and with disabled children under 18) as well as carers of adults already enjoy these rights.

6 April 2009


Employment Act 2008

The Act abolishes existing legislation on dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures introduced in October 2004. Tribunals will have a discretion to increase or decrease awards by up to 25% if there has been a failure to comply with the new ACAS Code of Practice.

6 April 2009


The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2009

The standard rates for SMP, SPP and SAP will increase to £123.06 per week (or 90% of average weekly earnings if less). The weekly rate of SSP will increase to £79.15.

1 October 2009


National Minimum Wages 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009

New national minimum wage rates (TBA) will come into force.

TBA 2010


Equality Bill

The Equality Bill will extend positive action so that employers can take into account, where they feel it is appropriate, when selecting between two equally qualified candidates, under-representation of disadvantaged groups

April 2010


Work and Families Act 2006

The Government intends to extend paid maternity leave to 12 months. This follows an extension to nine months from April 2007.

April 2010


Work and Families Act 2006

Mothers and fathers will be able to divide paid leave. Specifically, fathers will be allowed to take up to 26 weeks additional paternity leave ("APL") to care for the child before its first birthday but after it is 20 weeks old. APL will depend on the mother returning to work during additional maternity leave. Additional statutory paternity pay ("ASPP") will start after the SMP has stopped and be paid at the same rate for the period of the unused SMP entitlement.

April 2010


Pensions Act 2007

The number of years contribution required to achieve a full basic state pension will reduce to 30 years for both men and women. Between 2024 and 2046 the state pension age will rise gradually from 65 to 68 years.

TBA 2010



Employees will have the right to request time off for training once they have worked for their employer for 26 weeks. Employers will be obliged to consider seriously requests that they receive but will be able to refuse a request where there are good business reasons. Employers will not be obliged to meet the salary or training costs for requests for time to train though some will wish to do so.

TBA 2010



Following adoption of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive on 22 October 2008, the UK will introduce legislation to give new rights to agency workers. For example, after 12 weeks on an assignment, agency workers will be entitled to basic working and employment conditions at least as favourable as those of permanent employees.

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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