From the summer of 2013, the cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be the lower of £74,200 and one year’s pay. Although the change is unlikely to affect most tribunal awards, which average around £5,000, it will have an impact on higher earners, and may assist employers in settlement negotiations.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has published consultation on the draft subject access code of practice which gives guidance on handling requests for personal data. Compliance with the recommendations will only be mandatory as regards the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998. The final code of practice is due to be published by April 2013.
The Parental Leave (EU Directive) Regulations 2013 came into force on 8 March 2013. Changes include a new right for agency workers to request flexible working on return from parental leave, and an increase in parental leave entitlement from 13 weeks to 18 weeks for each child.
The Government has announced that prospective adoptive parents will be given time off work to meet the children they are due to adopt, although it is not yet clear whether this will be paid or unpaid. In its response to the Modern Workplaces Consultation, the Government has already announced that adoption leave and pay will be brought into line with the current maternity provisions.
BIS has issued consultation on reform of the recruitment sector. Proposals include improved procedures for workers moving between jobs and from temporary to permanent positions, greater clarity on responsibility for paying temporary workers, and changes to enforcement mechanisms. The consultation closes on 11th April 2013.
The Ministry of Justice has announced that an online facility to pay employment tribunal fees will be introduced by July 2013. Although it has not yet been confirmed, this suggests that the new fee structure will come into force at the same time.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance on the public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010, aimed at helping public authorities eliminate discrimination in the workplace and when delivering public services. This guidance is not a statutory Code of Practice, but can be used as evidence in legal proceedings.