Ongoing in 2011
Various proposals for reform of employment law are currently the subject of Government consultation. The topics covered include reform of Tribunal procedure (including a possible increase to the qualifying period for raising an unfair dismissal claim from one to two years), flexible working and parental leave, and annual leave in the context of sickness absence.
In May 2011 the Government announced plans to extend its current review of employment law to include Collective Redundancy, the TUPE Regulations 2006 and the possibility of limiting discrimination awards. It should be noted that these areas have their roots in EU legislation and as such the potential scope for the Government to make substantive amendments is limited.
The case Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes (A Partnership) will reach the Supreme Court. This long running claim relates to compulsory retirement age and it is hoped that guidance will be given on when an employee can be retired lawfully.
Under the Pensions Act 2008, from 2012, employers will be required to automatically enrol eligible workers (between 22 and the State Pension Age) who are not already in a good quality workplace scheme into a dedicated one. This can either be the employer’s own scheme or the new National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).
Employees’ 4% contribution will be topped up by a 3% contribution from employers and a 1% tax incentive from the Government. The contributions will be phased in from 2012 until the required levels are met. In addition, there will be a phased introduction with the requirements applying only to larger employers in the first instance.