1 February 2011

Employment Tribunal limits increased. Maximum basic award that a Tribunal can award rose to £12,000 (from £11,400). The maximum limit for Compensatory Awards increased to £68,400 (from £65,300). There is still no limit on the amount that can be awarded for discrimination claims and certain claims relating to dismissal for health and safety reasons or whistleblowing.

3 April 2011

New fathers of babies born (or children matched for adoption) on or after 3 April 2011 enjoy additional rights. Families may choose to transfer up to the last six months of maternity leave to the father. This could include the three remaining months of the period during which statutory maternity pay is payable, provided the mother has returned to work.

The standard weekly rates for Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay and for Maternity Allowance will increase from £124.88 to £128.73.

6 April 2011

The provisions relating to positive action in recruitment and promotion in section 159 of the Equality Act 2010 came into force on 6 April 2011. Employers are allowed “to apply voluntary positive action in recruitment and promotion processes when faced with two or more candidates of equal merit, to address under-representation in the workforce”.

The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions) Regulations 2011 came into force on 6 April 2011. The implications of these Regulations and the abolition of the default retirement age are addressed in more detail below.

The standard weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay also increases from £79.15 to £81.60.

It had been expected that the right to request flexible working would be extended to parents of children under 18 (up from under 17) but the Government has indicated they will withdraw this proposed extension.