2013 Key Changes in employment law every business needs to know

Already implemented:

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.

Pre-termination negotiations

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

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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The Queen’s Speech has unveiled a number of announcements aimed at helping employers

The National Insurance Contributions Bill will introduce a new employment allowance, giving all businesses a reduction of £2,000 per annum from their employer national insurance contributions. It will take effect in April 2014.

The proposed Deregulation Bill will set out to reduce the burden of excessive regulation on businesses. These include changes to employment tribunals and health and safety regulations.

The speech also included proposed changes to childcare for working parents, increased access to traineeships and apprenticeships, and an increase in the level of fines for businesses employing illegal workers.

( ref Personnel Today)

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Free HR Seminar for growing companies at Harwell Innovation Centre

HR  & Employment Law Basics

for Growing Companies

You are invited to a free employment training event

at the Harwell Innovation Centre

on Tuesday 21st May 2013

Starting with lunch at 12 noon, the event will finish at 1.30pm with networking opportunites until 2pm

Whether you are hiring your first employee, or expanding your team, it has never been more important to ensure you are legally compliant and managing your staff’s performance effectively and fairly, so they are actively engaged in promoting your business.

This event will be presented by Rebecca Ireland, Employment Law Partner at Morgan Cole LLP and Mandy Brearley, Independent HR Specialist at MB HR Support.  It will cover the main HR and employment law basics you need to consider as your organisation grows; from recruitment, through the probationary period, dealing with poor performance and misconduct issues, managing sickness absence and grievances, and touching on health and safety and data protection.

If you are a growing company, or just want to ensure you have everything covered already, then book your place at:                      

http://hrbasicsatharwell.eventbrite.co.uk

Contact:Mandy Brearley at mandy@mbhrsupport.co.uk or call 07766665665

Venue address: Harwell Innovation Centre, Building 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell Oxford, Didcot  OX11 OQ

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Key Legal changes for 2013 – timetable

1st April 2013

Legal aid removed for the majority of employment claims – Legal aid will be withdrawn for most employment claims with the exception of some areas, including advice and assistance in relation to claims under the Equality Act 2010 and representation in the Employment Appeal Tribunal for claims under the Equality Act 2010.

6th April 2013

Real time information introduced
- Employers are required to report PAYE deductions to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) prior to, or at the time of, paying employees rather than at the end of the year, under the new real time information scheme

Statutory sick pay increases
 increase from £85.85 to £86.70 per week.

Collective redundancy consultation period reduces from 90 to 45 days where an employer proposes to dismiss as redundant 100 or more employees

Changes to income tax thresholds and rates come into force
 -The income tax personal allowance increases from £8,105 to £9,440. The basic rate limit decreases from £34,370 to £32,010. The additional rate of income tax is reduced from 50% to 45%.

Social Security (Contributions) amended to:  the lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions to £109 and the upper earnings limit to £797.

7th April 2013

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase
 £135.45 to £136.78 per week

Summer 2013

Fees for tribunal claims introduced
- 

Claimants who issue a claim against their employer in the employment tribunal are required to pay a fee. There are two levels of claim, depending on the complexity of the case. The claimant pays an initial fee to issue a claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing. submitted to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Portable DBS checks introduced-

Once a Disclosure and Barring Service (previously Criminal Records Bureau) check has been conducted, the results will be available online to enable employers to confirm that no new information has been added since the check was originally made. This means that an employee will not have to obtain a new check each time he or she starts a new job.

Compensatory award limit for unfair dismissal amended -

the amount may be no less than the median annual earnings and no more than three times the median annual earnings, or no less than 52 times the claimant’s weekly pay.

Compromise agreements to be renamed settlement agreements

Plan for pre-termination negotiations to be inadmissible in unfair dismissal claims - Conversations between an employer and an employee or an offer made prior to the termination of employment, with a view to terminating employment on agreed terms, may not be taken into account by an employment tribunal when determining an unfair dismissal claim.

Autumn 2013

Employee-owner contract introduced-
The "employee-owner" contract, a new type of employment contract, is introduced. Employee-owners will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in the business, which will be exempt from capital gains tax, in exchange for foregoing certain employment rights. Employee-owners would not have the "ordinary" unfair dismissal protection after two years’ continuous service. Employee owners would be unable to make statutory requests to work flexibly or in relation to study or training, and would not be protected against dismissal for making either of these statutory requests, except in relation to a flexible working request on return from parental leave. Employee-owners would not be eligible for statutory redundancy pay, and would also have to give 16 weeks’ notice to return early from maternity or adoption leave, as compared with eight weeks for employees.

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Workshop for SMEs – HR basic hints & tips

The Career Boutique and MB HR Support are running an informative workshop aimed at SMEs, who don’t have the luxury of an inhouse HR department, covering HR basic hints and tips.

This event will take place at the Innovation Centre, Milton Park, OX14 4RY. Starting at 8am with complimentary pastries & tea/coffee and finishing at 9.30am.

The topics being covered will be:

Find the right people

Keeping up to date with employment law

Absence management

Engaging employees

Performance management

Diversity

Reward

Staff Development

Communciation

HR documentation

Please email Mandy Brearley at mandy@mbhrsupport.co.uk or phone 07766665665 to book your place.

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Workshop for SMEs – HR basic hints & tips

The careTags: , er Boutique and MB HR Support are running an informative workshop aimed at SMEs, who don’t have the luxury of an inhouse HR department, covering HR basic hints and tips.

This event will take place at the Innovation Centre, Milton Park, OX14 4RY. Starting at 8am with complimentary pastries & tea/coffee and finishing at 9.30am.

The topics being covered will be:

Find the right people

Keeping up to date with employment law

Absence management

Engaging employees

Performance management

Diversity

Reward

Staff Development

Communciation

HR documentation

Please email Mandy Brearley at mandy@mbhrsupport.co.uk or phone 07766665665 to book your place.

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Reforms for shared parental leave and flexible working systems from 2015

The Government has today published the Children and Families Bill, which includes reforms to the way in which parents can share maternity leave as well as the extension of the right to request flexible working.

Under the new system of shared parental leave:

·      fathers will gain a new right to take unpaid leave to attend two antenatal appointments;

·      there will be new statutory payment for parents on shared parental leave with the same qualifying requirements that currently apply to statutory maternity and paternity pay; and

·      those who have adopted a child will be entitled to the same pay and leave as birth parents.

The Bill also extends the right to request flexible working to all employees and removes the current statutory procedure for considering requests. Instead, employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner.

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More Support to SME’s to Offer Apprenticeships

The Government has announced plans to offer more funding support to small and medium sized businesses to offer apprenticeships.

An extension of the Apprenticeship Grant for employers of 16 to 24 year olds has been granted to March 2014, with £1,500 available to assist companies with les than 1,000 employees to offer an apprenticeship.

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DBS checks (formally CRB checks) are portable

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (formally Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks) are portable between employers, from March 2013.

On payment of a fee employers that register with the DBS can apply for access to standard and enhanced criminal records checks.

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Unpaid parental leave increases to 18 weeks from 8th March 2013

The right to unpaid parental leave increases from 13 weeks to 18 weeks from 8th March 2013.

Every employee who is the parent of a child can take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave during the first five years of the child’s life.  Adoptive parents must take their parental leave by the 5th anniversary of the adoption or the child’s 18th birthday, whichever occurs sooner.

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