Employment law changes quickly and often. This can make it difficult for employers and employees alike to know their rights and obligations on a given issue at a given time. Here is a quick summary of some notable changes for this year:
Tribunal Award Limits – from 1 February 2013, the upper limit for an award by the tribunal for unfair dismissal is increased from £72,300 to £74,200.
Parental Leave – from 8 March 2013, this is increased from 13 weeks to 18 weeks. Employees who are parents to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave during the first five years of their child’s life.
Collective Consultation on Redundancy – From 6 April 2013, where employers propose to make 100 or more employees redundant at one establishment (within a period of 90 days), they require to consult collectively with employees or their representatives at least 45 days (down from 90 days) before the first redundancy.
Statutory Sick Pay – from 6 April 2013, the standard rate of statutory sick pay increased from £85.85 to £86.70 per week.
Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay – from 7 April 2013, the standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increased from £135.45 to £136.78 per week.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act – passed by Parliament on 25 April 2013, this Act will include, among other things, various reforms to the employment tribunal system such as requiring claimants to send certain information to Acas so they can attempt a settlement before a claim is lodged. The Act will also permit employers to have “protected conversations” with employees, which cannot later be reported to a Tribunal, with a view to terminating their employment in exchange for (probably modest) compensation.
Charges to Raise Employment Tribunal Claim – from 29 July 2013, employees taking their employer to Tribunal will have to pay an initial fee to issue their claim and a further fee if the matter cannot be settled and proceeds instead to a hearing. Fees may be waived where claimants cannot afford to pay but otherwise the amount payable will depend on the relevant category of claim:
|Category||Initial Fee||Hearing Fee|
|Level One (including unlawful deduction from wages and redundancy payment claims)||£160||£230|
|Level Two (more complex matters including discrimination, equal pay and unfair dismissal claims)||£250||£950|
Employee Shareholder Contracts – the subject of considerable debate within Parliament and the media, this new type of employment contract will see employees receive at least £2,000 worth of shares in their employer’s business in exchange for giving up certain employment rights such as being able to claim unfair dismissal (except for automatically unfair reasons) or statutory redundancy pay. The employer will have to pay for the employee to take independent advice on an employee shareholder agreement. The enacting legislation is expected to come into effect in Autumn 2013.
Employment law affects most of us at one time or another and at Mitchells Roberton we keep tabs on how it changes so we can be there to guide you across the shifting sands.