Important HR Changes and Updates for 2012

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Several consultations were launched during 2011, the outcomes of which may affect legislation in 2012 and beyond. These included:
  • An updated system of flexible parental leave due for implementation in 2015

  • Extending rights to flexible working – response expected early 2012

  • Changes to Working Time Regulations with regard to annual leave

The Government also announced a “radical” reform of employment legislation in November following consultation on employment disputes and the results of the Red Tape Challenge review. Further consultations and legislative changes are anticipated in 2012 including:
  • Qualifying period for gaining employment protection rights from unfair dismissal from one year to two years – expected implementation from 6th April 2012

  • “Protected Conversations” to enable employers to discuss issues with employees without risk of subsequently being quoted in a tribunal hearing – consultation announcement awaited.

  • Compensated “no-fault” dismissal for businesses with less than 10 employees

  • Reform of Employment Tribunal system to include early conciliation, process reform, introduction of fees for claimants and discretionary fines on employers who lose cases.

  • “Call for Evidence” documents issued on collective redundancy rules and the effectiveness of the TUPE regulations.

2012 Implementation Calendar 1st February Increased limits on employment tribunal awards:
  • A week’s pay will increase from £400 to £430
  • Maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £68,400 to £72,300
  • Guarantee pay will increase from £22.20 to £23.50 per day.
1st April
  • Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) to increase from £128.73 to £135.45 per week.
  • Weekly earnings threshold for SMP, SPP and SAP payments will increase from £102 to £107.
6th April
  • Qualifying period for gaining employment protection rights against unfair dismissal expected to increase from one year to two years.
  • Changes to employment tribunal procedures expected to come into force.
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week.
5th June
  • An additional bank holiday on Tuesday, 5th June to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the late May bank holiday being moved to Monday, 4th June to create a long weekend.
1st October
  • National minimum wage rates are likely to increase although no figures have yet been published.
  • Pensions auto-enrolment begins for larger employers who will have to enrol eligible employees automatically, and make mandatory employer contributions, into a qualifying workplace pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest).
 

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