• According to a BIS Press Office tweet, the proposed extension to the right to request flexible working to all employees with six months’ employment will be implemented by 30 June 2014, and shared parental leave will apply from April 2015. Draft regulations implementing the new shared parental leave right have been published for consultation, available here.
  • It has been confirmed that the discretion for tribunals to order a losing employer to pay a fine to the Exchequer for an “aggravated” breach of employment law is to come into force on 6 April 2014. The potential fine for losing employers is 50% of the value of the award to the employee, subject to being within the band of £100 to £5,000, and reduced by half if paid within 21 days. See here for further details.
  • HR and managers involved in recruitment should note that, from 10 March 2014, the rehabilitation periods in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will be reduced, shortening the time period during which offenders must declare a previous conviction to prospective employers. The new periods are set out in the guidance here.
  • Legislation is currently progressing through parliament to abolish the Percentage Threshold Scheme, which enables employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay from HMRC where the total SSP paid in a month exceeds 13% of their Class 1 National Insurance Contributions for that month. It is expected to take effect on 6 April 2014. This is intended to help fund the introduction of a new Health and Work Service which will offer voluntary medical assessments and treatment plans for employees (although this is unlikely to be fully operational until 2015). Employers may wish to bear in mind the impact of this change when reviewing policies to provide more generous sick pay than the statutory rate.