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Employment Law Updates 2013

Employment Law Updates 2013

2013 has been a busy year for employment lawyers as the government introduces a raft of changes to both employment law and employment tribunal procedure. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which contains a number of important changes to employment law, came into effect on the 25th of this month and will be known as the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 will come into force in full from 29 July 2013.

Recent changes:

  • From 6 April 2013 the minimum consultation period for employers proposing to make 100 or more redundancies was cut from 90 days to 45 days. The change also means that the employer will not have to notify the government of the proposals until at least 45 days before the date on which the first redundancy will take effect.
  • The statutory rates of pay have changes as of 6 April 2013 for Statutory
  • Sick Pay and as of 7 April 2013 for all other rates as follows:
    • Statutory Sick Pay is now £86.70 per week
    • The flat rate of Statutory Maternity Pay /Allowance and Statutory Adoption and Paternity pay is now £136.78 per week
    • The Statutory Guarantee Payment for lay offs is now £24.20 per day.
  • The lower earning threshold has increased to £109.00 per week. This is the minimum average gross weekly wage an employee must earn in order to be eligible for statutory sick, maternity, paternity and adoption pay

Upcoming changes

  • From 25 June 2013 a new exception to the requirement to have two years' service in order to claim unfair dismissal will come into force. This exception is where the reason for the person's dismissal is because of his/her political opinions of affiliations.

    This change arises out of a decision from the European Court of Justice last year and which we comment on further below.

  • Also from the 25 June 2013 the employment regulations protecting whistle blowers will change.The regulations will now make employers liable for the action of employee's who victimise a whistle blower, unless the employer can show they took all reasonably practicable steps to prevent such conduct. Ensuring that your business has in place a suitable Whistle Blowing policy and that managers have received training on handling instances of whistle blowing will be the bare minimum steps required.

    Employees will also no longer have to show that the disclosure was made in good faith in order to be protected by the legislation. They will, however, have to establish that the disclosure was a matter of public interest.

  • The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 also makes further provisions that will come into force either in October 2013 or April 2014. We will update you when further information is published by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills but these include:
    • Requiring employees to refer matters to ACAS before issuing Employment Tribunal proceedings; and
    • Allowing Employers to offer employee's termination packages, the details of which cannot be referred to in Tribunal proceedings.
  • The new version of the Employment Tribunal rules and procedures will come into force in full from 29 July 2013. The main changes are:
    • There will be fees payable to issue claims and a second fee to take it to a full hearing
    • Claim forms and responses will be sifted to check there is at least some merit in any claim or defence
    • There will no longer be a £20,000 cap on the amount of costs the Tribunal can award against a party

    If you have any questions about how these updates could affect your business call us on 0114 241 7092.

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