The story so far… Spring 2013 Redundancy consultation

  • In force from 6 April 2013
  •  Employees on fixed-term contracts "which have reached their agreed termination point" will be excluded from collective redundancy consultation obligations (where 20+ employees are to be dismissed from one establishment within a 90 day period)
  • Minimum consultation period has been reduced to 45 days from 90 days (where 100+ employees are affected by redundancy at one establishment within 90 days period)
  • Upper limit on protective award still 90 days  

Acas non-statutory code of practice

  • In force from 6 April 2013
  • “How to manage collective redundancies” published
  • Aimed at employers, to coincide with changes to redundancy consultation
  • Includes outline of legal requirements and responsibilities, with timeline
  • 10 point checklist of key issues, including:
  • When consultation should commence
  • Meaning of “establishment”  

Increase in statutory pay levels for: Sick leave (from 6 April 2013)

  • • Risen from £85.85 to £86.70
  • • Weekly earnings threshold risen from £107 to
  • £109  

Maternity leave/ Paternity leave/ Adoption leave (from 7 April 2013)

  • Risen from £135.45 to £136.78
  • Weekly earnings threshold risen from £107 to £109  

Summer 2013

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

  • Numerous reforms came into force on 25 June 2013, including:

Whistleblowing

  • Qualifying disclosures must be made by workers in the public interest
  • Good faith requirement removed, but bad faith whistle-blowers face compensation reduction  

Caste discrimination

  • Government required to make regulations outlawing caste discrimination
  • Draft order expected Autumn 2014  

Tribunal Fees

  • Fees introduced on 29 July 2013
  • Claimants will have to pay to bring claims in an Employment Tribunal (up to £250)
  • A subsequent payment will be due if claims progress to Hearing stage (up to £950)
  • Two judicial reviews in progress  

Tribunal Rules

  • New Employment Tribunal Rules came into force on 29 July 2013
  • Implementation coincided with the introduction of the Tribunal Fees  

Cap on Compensation for Unfair Dismissal

  • In effect from 29 July 2013
  • Compensation capped at the lower of the current cap (£74,200) or one year’s gross pay

Settlement Agreements

  • In effect from 29 July 2013
  • Compromise agreements renamed settlement agreements
  • New ACAS Statutory Code of Practice and enhanced guidance published to encourage increased use of Settlement Agreements

Autumn 2013

Employee Share Options

  • In force from 1 September 2013
  • Introduction of “employee shareholder status” 
  • Employees give up some of their employment rights in exchange for shares in the business

Employers’ liability for third party harassment

  • In force from 1 October 2013
  • Provisions in Equality Act 2010 regarding employers’ liability for third party harassment repealed

New fee remission scheme

  • In force from 7 October 2013 
  • Claimants may be eligible for full or partial fee remission depending on their capital and gross monthly income

Changes expected… 2014

TUPE reform

  • Following consultation, government expected to implement reforms in January 2014
  • Service Provision Change rules to remain

Flexible Working

  • New legislation to allow employees with 26+ weeks’ continuous employment to request flexible working (as opposed to just parents and carers)

New Sickness Absence Management Tools 

  • A new health and work assessments and advisory service will be introduced, offering free occupational health expertise to employees, employers and GPs
  • Independent assessment of employees off sick for 4 weeks

Financial penalties on employers

  • Employers losing Employment Tribunal cases to pay financial penalty where breach has one or more aggravating factors, which may include, for example, the duration of the breach and the behaviour of the employer and employee

Discrimination questionnaires

  • From 6 April 2014 statutory discrimination questionnaires to be abolished

ACAS Early Conciliation

  • Four step process for early conciliation before claim can be commenced. Implementation expected on 6 April 2014

Looking ahead… 2015

Shared Parental Leave 

  • Mothers and fathers will have the ability to “split” 52 weeks of parental leave at any point from two weeks after birth
  • Currently at House of Lords Committee stage

Time off for Ante-Natal Appointments

  • Fathers and other qualifying persons will be entitled to time off work to attend two ante-natal appointments with expectant mothers