Parental leave entitlement
The entitlement to parental leave increased from 13 to 18 weeks March 2013.
Changes to collective consultation on redundancy
Since April 2013 employers putting 100 or more employees at risk of redundancy must start the consultation at least 45 days.
Changes to law for dismissals due to political opinion
Since 25th June 2013, if an employee is dismissed for holding a political opinion, they will be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal even if they do not have the 2 years service to bring a “standard” unfair dismissal complaint.
Changes to whistleblowing law
This law gives employees and workers protection against dismissal and victimisation if they blow the whistle on illegal or unsafe practices.
Since 25th June, worker can only rely on disclosures to bring a whistleblowing claim if, in the reasonable belief of the worker, the disclosure is made in the public interest. However, another change has been introduced which helps whistleblowers. It is no longer necessary for them to be acting in good faith when they blow the whistle.
Employers will also be liable if their employees victimise a colleague for whistleblowing.
Due for implementation on 29th July:
Unfair dismissal awards to be reduced.
New regulations will be implemented to stop tribunals making awards that are higher than 52 weeks of the employees pay (currently capped at £74,200). This will apply to all dismissals after the date when the regulations come into force.
Compromise agreements to be renamed
Compromise agreements will be renamed settlement agreements but the purpose will remain the same.
Employers will be able to have pre-termination negotiations, which are offers made or discussions held between the employer and employee before termination of employment with a view to employment being terminated on agreed terms. This allows an employer to have a conversation with an employee with the aim of terminating the employment under a settlement agreement without the employee being able to rely on details of the conversation as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim.
The parties cannot make use of these provisions in claims for automatic unfair dismissal (such as whistleblowing) or discrimination.
Tribunal fees will be introduced and for all but very simple claims, such as for wages and holiday pay, claimants will have to pay £250 to issue their claim and a further £950 for a hearing.
There is a system for those with low means to be exempt from the fees.
Proposed for the autumn
Employee shareholder status
The idea is to give employees a share of the business in exchange for them giving up certain employment rights. In exchange for giving employees shares worth £2,000 to £50,000, employers will be able to make employees contract out of the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim (but not an automatically unfair dismissal claim like whistleblowing), certain rights to request flexible working and training and a statutory redundancy payment and they will have to give longer notice to return early from maternity leave.
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