February 2013 we saw the usual increase to the limits in employment tribunal awards and calculations. When calculating redundancy the weekly pay level rose from £430 to £450, and the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal rose from £72,300 to £74,200.
March 2013 saw unpaid parental leave increased to 18 weeks to comply with the European rules.
April 2013 had the normal SSP/SMP/SPP (Sick pay/maternity pay/paternity pay) increases from £85.85 to £86.70 and £135.45 to £136.78 respectfully.
June 2013 brought political beliefs and affiliations under the same banner as other protective characteristics and so didn’t need a qualifying period to raise a claim for unfair dismissal.
July 2013 saw the biggest changes with the introduction of tribunal fees for a claimant to raise a claim, unfair dismissal claims were now capped a the lesser of either £74,200 or a year’s pay, and compromise agreements saw an overhaul that has led them to being called ‘settlement’ agreements and the ability to discuss such gained protection under the new laws.
September 2013 introduced ‘employee shareholder’ status where those accepting employee shareholder contracts would agree to give up certain employment rights in return for company shares.
Finally October 2013 saw the abolition of the third party harassment provision of the equality Act 2012 which had previously made employers vicariously liable to third party harassment. The duty of care to employees however still remains. And the national minimum wage increased
- The Adult hourly rate to £6.31
- For 18 – 20 year olds the hourly rate to £5.03
- For the under 18 year olds the hourly rate to £3.72
- For apprentices the hourly rate to £2.68
So what does 2014 have in store?
January 2014 there are proposed changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). These would include changing the requirement to provide employee liability information 28 days prior to transfer rather than the 14 days currently, and allow TUPE consultations involving more than 20 redundancies to also satisfy the requirements for consultation on collective redundancies where the two can run.
April 2014 sees the introduction of mandatory ACAS conciliation requiring all potential claimants notifying ACAS before a claim can be issued in the Employment Tribunal. ACAS would then attempt conciliation for up to one calendar month which may be extended by two weeks if there is a reasonable chance of achieving a settlement.
From the Spring (no formal dates yet given) we can expect to see changes to the Equality Act, flexible working, and parental leave. And who can forget the Auto Enrollment requirements where employers with between 350 and 499 employees will be expected to comply and offer a qualifying pension scheme to their staff by the start of 2014. Employers with 58 or more employees will be affected by the start of 2015.
So do you feel you have embraced the changes so far or did they mostly pass you by? I don’t expect this rate of change to let up and expect 2014 to bring more changes, that we haven’t even had signed posted yet, to come to fruition. I would have to say (excitedly) it looks likely to be an interesting year for all HR and employment law practitioners.
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