What’s In Store For 2011?

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There are some key employment law changes expected in 2011, including the abolition of the default retirement age with transitional arrangements from April in advance of its repeal in October, the introduction of paternity leave and pay, the extension of the right to request flexible working to parents of children under 18 and new rules on the equal treatment of agency workers. Here’s a checklist of key dates:
JANUARY
National minimum wage: travel expenses to temporary workplaces no longer count From 1 January 2011, expenses for travel to a temporary workplace can no longer form part of employees’ pay for national minimum wage purposes.
FEBRUARY
New tribunal award limits come into force The limit on the amount of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £65,300 to £68,400 on 1 February 2011. Increase in cap for Statutory Redundancy Pay The cap for statutory redundancy pay increases to £400 per week with effect from 1 February 2011.
APRIL
Transitional provisions for abolition of default retirement age From 6 April 2011, employers will be prohibited from issuing new notifications of retirement using the statutory retirement procedure and notifications issued before this date must relate only to employees whose retirement dates fall before 1 October 2011. Right to request flexible working extended to parents of children aged under 18 On 6 April 2011, the right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children aged under 18 (it currently applies to parents of children aged under 17, or 18 if the child is disabled). Single public sector equality duty is introduced The Equality Act 2010 is being implemented in stages and more of its provisions are expected to come into force in April 2011, including the introduction of a single public sector equality duty on 6 April 2011. Positive action provisions in the Equality Act 2010 are enacted From 6 April 2011, the Equality Act 2010 will allow employers, in defined circumstances, to recruit or promote a person with one protected characteristic in preference to another person who does not have the protected characteristic, provided that they are equally qualified for the post. Right to make a request in relation to training may be extended to all employees The right for employees to make a request in relation to study or training, which currently applies to employees in organisations with 250 or more employees, is due to be extended to all employees from 6 April 2011. However, the Government is reviewing the legislation so this extension is in doubt. Additional paternity leave and pay available Additional paternity leave and pay allows fathers to benefit from up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave if the mother returns to work before using her full entitlement to statutory maternity leave. The new right is available to parents of children with an expected week of childbirth beginning on or after 3 April 2011. New corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery The Bribery Act 2010 will introduce a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery by persons working on behalf of a business, which comes into force in April 2011. Maternity, paternity and adoption pay are increased The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £124.88 to £128.73 per week from 3 April 2011. Statutory sick pay will also increase from £79.15 to £81.60 per week from 6 April 2011.
OCTOBER
Default retirement age is completely abolished The default retirement age will be abolished completely after a six-month transitional period, and employers will be prohibited from retiring employees in reliance on the default retirement age on or after 1 October 2011. New rules on equal treatment for agency workers The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will entitle agency workers to equal treatment on basic employment conditions after 12 calendar weeks in a given job, including pay and holidays, from 1 October 2011. National minimum wage may rise The national minimum wage may rise on 1 October 2011, subject to the prevailing economic conditions and the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to be delivered to the Government in February 2011.

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