February 2008

1 February - Tribunal awards

Annual increase in tribunal award limits. The new limits include (current figures in brackets):

  • a week's pay: £330 (£310)
  • maximum basic award £9,900 (£9,300)
  • maximum compensatory award: £63,000 (£60,600)

Note: The increases apply where the "appropriate date" occurs on or after 1 February (e.g. for unfair dismissal the "effective date of termination") and not the date of the corresponding tribunal hearing.

29 February - Immigration

Employers who negligently hire illegal workers face a fine of up to £10,000 for each offence and those who knowingly hire illegal workers risk an unlimited fine and a prison sentence.

Introduction of new rules as to the documents or combinations of documents that must be produced by employees and prospective employees.

April 2008

6 April - Employee consultation

The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 come into force in relation to employers with 50 or more employees.

6 April - Pensions/Employee consultation

The 2006 Regulations in relation to occupational pension scheme employee consultation come into force for businesses employing 50 or more employees.

6 April - Corporate manslaughter

A new corporate manslaughter offence to be introduced which will allow organisations to be prosecuted for management failures leading to deaths.

6 April - Employment agencies and businesses

New regulations aimed at protecting agency workers in relation to their treatment by the employment agency/business.

Date to be confirmed - Sex discrimination

Amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 following the EOC challenge last year. The amendments will effect:

  • s3A - discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave comparators)
  • s4A - definition of harassment, including sexual harassment) 
  • s6A - exceptions relating to terms and conditions during maternity leave

(Note: Delayed from October 2007, draft regulations still awaited)

Date to be confirmed - Statutory sick pay (SSP)

Possible extension of SSP to workers on fixed contracts of less than three months.

July 2008

Date to be confirmed - Employment Bill

The Employment Bill, previously known as the Employment Simplification Bill, is expected to receive royal assent by summer 2008. The Bill includes provisions regarding:

  • workplace dispute resolution (also see April 2009)
  • stronger enforcement of the NMW and employment agency standards
  • trade union membership law

No implementation timetable has yet been set, but most of the key provisions are likely to take effect in April 2009.

October 2008

1 October - Directors' duties

The remaining provisions of the Companies Act 2006 relating to the codification of directors' duties come into effect including:

  • Duty to avoid conflicts, s175
  • Duty not to accept benefits from 3rd parties, s176
  • Duty to declare interest in proposed transaction/arrangement with company, s177

1 October - National Minimum Wage

Annual changes to the National Minimum Wage to be based on recommendation of the Low Pay Commission

Date to be confirmed - Age discrimination

Technical amendments in relation to time limits for filing questionnaires and civil servant transfers.

Date to be confirmed - Flexible working

Extension of the right to request flexible working to parents of older children.

The DBERR has indicated that this will be brought into force either in October 2008 or April 2009.

Date to be confirmed - Vulnerable groups

The Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 will introduce a centralised vetting system for people working with children and vulnerable adults.

April 2009

1 April - Holidays

Increase in statutory holiday entitlement from 4.8 weeks to 5.6 (being 28 days for someone working five or more days a week). Transitional provision allowing "buy out" of extra days ends.

Date to be confirmed - Dispute resolution

Repeal of the current Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures is expected on 6 April 2009.

In place of the existing procedures, introduction of:

  • discretionary powers of tribunals to vary awards for unreasonable failure to comply with any relevant statutory code relating to workplace dispute resolution
  • changes to the law relating to conciliation by Acas (pilot scheme to run 2008/2009

August 2009

1 August - Working time

The weekly working time for doctors in training reduced to 48 hours.

April 2010

Date to be confirmed - Maternity/Adoption pay

Proposed extension of the statutory maternity and adoption pay periods to 52 weeks.

Date to be confirmed - Paternity leave and pay

Introduction of additional paternity leave and pay where the mother returns to work before the end of her full maternity leave period.

2012

Date to be confirmed - Pensions

Proposed implementation of the Pensions Bill which includes duties on employers to automatically enroll their employees into a personal accounts scheme or their own qualifying scheme.