Employment Legislation Changes in 2013

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We all heard and felt some significant new proposals to employment law and various new employment legislation being implemented during 2012. So, what’s new for 2013 and will we see those proposals in 2012 come to fruition and become implemented this year? Some legislation that has been given a definitive date and will impact organisations regardless of their size is highlighted below: Changes in the amount to calculate weekly pay for redundancy pay and unfair dismissal awards – February 2013 The amount for calculating statutory redundancy pay and unfair dismissal will increase to £450 per week. In addition the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal also goes up to £74,200. Where there is short time or a temporary lay- off staff, the statutory guarantee payment also increases to £24.20 per day. Changes to DBS checks and Parental leave – March 2013 Previously known as the Criminal Records Bureau now referred to as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks will become portable so that employees will not be required to undergo further DBS checks if they were to move to other employment. Once a check has been conducted, the results are available on online for new employers to view and for employers to check that no new information has been added. Good news for parents in that if they have adopted a child or given birth to a child, they will be entitled to take up to four months’ parental leave, an increase from three months.. Introduction of company car tax freeze, new employee-owner contracts and changes to personal allowance tax, SSP and collective consultation – April 2013 Following announcements made in the budget in 2011, company cars that emit less carbon dioxide than the prescribed amount will have a freeze on their company car tax. It is anticipated that the new employee-owner contracts will be introduced in April of this year. Our previous blogs highlighted that the Government had commenced consultation on this new employee-owner contract in October 2012 and they had responded to this consultation in December 2012. See our blog dated 19 December 2012 by Angela Rhodes for further details of the government’s response. Statutory sick pay will increase to £86.70 per week. Income tax on personal allowance will also increase in April going up to £9,440. Where there is collective consultation for potentially redundant employees and there are more than a 100 or more affected, the consultation period will reduce to 45 days. Introduction of new laws that will protect healthcare workers – May 2013 This is an EU directive that states all countries that are members of the EU must implement a new law or improve existing legislation, which protects healthcare workers and should help to prevent injuries, including those from sharp objects. Introduction of employment tribunal fees – July/August 2013 During the summer of 2013 (no definitive date had been given as of yet) individuals who wish to take a claim to an employment tribunal will have to pay fees. First they will have to pay a fee to make a claim and if that claim is allowed to get to an employment tribunal, the claimant must pay a further fee. These are obviously repaid to the claimant if they win the claim. Introduction of Real Time Information – October 2013 October will see the introduction of real time information being introduced. At the moment employers report to HMRC annually on the amount of PAYE deductions they have deducted from their employee’s pay. However from October, employers will have to inform the HMRC of the PAYE deductions either before they deduct the pay or at the same time as deducting pay. Other noteworthy changes and introductions to employment law proposed for 2013, but as of yet there is no definitive date, are: Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will introduce a number of new provisions as highlighted below:
  • Where employers and employees have held conversations about an offer before the contract of employment is actually terminated cannot be taken into account by an employment tribunal where they are considering an unfair dismissal claim.
  • The government’s solution to a cheaper and quicker alternative to employment tribunals is ‘rapid resolution’ scheme could come into effect this year.
  • Compromise agreements will be renamed Settlement Agreements.
  • Employers will have to pay a financial penalty if an employment tribunal finds them in breach of employment rights. This penalty could be up to 50% of the compensatory award with a maximum amount of £5,000. If the employer pays this penalty within 21 days they can qualify for a reduction in the amount.
School leaving age will increase to 17 years of age which will eventually go up to 18 years of age in 2015. All young people have to stay in some kind of education or training until they are 17 years of age. There will be some changes to the amount of time an ex offender has in which they have to declare their spent convictions to employers. It is thought the time period will be reduced. As definitive dates are given for the implementation of these laws and amendments, further details will be available as to how exactly they will impact employers and employees. As always, laws are then tested to refine them. An interesting year lays ahead and with it some interesting challenges in the world of employment law.

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