UK Employment Law Timetable

An overview of the legal changes that took effect during 2021 and the preceding years

What Happened in 2021

Employment law changes in 2020 and 2021 were heavily based on the Coronavirus and significant pieces of planned legislation were side-lined.

What Happened in 2020

Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay

April 2020 Employed parents who lose a child will have the right to two weeks’ paid leave to allow them time to grieve.

The new law will support those whose child dies when under the age of 18. Under existing legislation employees only have a day-one right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant, including making arrangements following a death. As a result what constitutes a ‘reasonable’ period varies between workplaces.

Read More …

National Insurance on Termination Payments

April 2020 The introduction of employer National Insurance Contributions on termination payments over £30,000 has been delayed for a further year until April 2020.

Changes to Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector

April 2020 The Government has announced that large and medium sized businesses in the private sector will be responsible for deciding whether the off-payroll working rules will apply. Where they do apply, the business, agency or third-party paying the individual’s intermediary will need to deduct income tax and National Insurance Contribution before making the payment. The definitions of large and medium sized businesses have not yet been released, but it is thought that the Government will use similar criteria to define small businesses as is currently within the Companies Act 2006. The changes are expected to be introduced from 6 April 2020, with the government publishing a further consultation in the coming months and draft legislation expected in summer 2019.

T-levels

2020 T-Levels were announced in the 2017 Spring Budget, with the aim to replace 15,000 technical qualifications with 15 vocational routes, including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, health, and science.

A key part of the T-Level programme is a mandatory 45-day work placement. Currently most employers (71%) and training providers (74%) offer work placements of one to two weeks for 16 to 19 year olds. Only 8% of employers provide placements of the duration required for T-Levels.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2019

Britian Leaves the EU (Brexit)

March 2019 It seems unlikely that the UK government will deviate from the employment rights that derive from EU law.

It also looks likely that EU nationals who are already resident in the UK will be allowed to stay. Future business-related migration, however, could be harder and may be brought into line with the process of bringing in employees from outside the EU. In the immediate aftermath of the Referendum, the government restated its commitment to science and research. This suggests that different immigration rules may be created to allow the continued free movement of scientists and academics from the EU.

If you employ EU nationals more generally, consider the potential impact of this on both your current and future employees. Put in place a robust workforce and contingency plan, particularly for key roles. If any grant funding agreements refer to individuals who have recently arrived from the EU as ‘key personnel’, seek to renegotiate.

Our advice is not to preempt any major changes to your employment contracts and handbooks until the post-Brexit employment landscape becomes clearer. It is probable that, following the publication of the Taylor Review later in 2017, there will be a more active debate on how to engage people in the workplace, so this will be the time to review your employment models and assess the likely impact of employment law changes.

In the very short term check your employment policies and procedures are fully up to date.

Read More …

Payslips For Time-Paid Employees to State Number of Hours Being Paid

April 2019 The Employment Rights Act 1995 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018, which requires payslips to state the number of hours being paid for time-paid workers, was laid before Parliament on the 8th February 2018.

The Order requires payslips for time-paid workers to state the number of hours being paid, either as an aggregate number of hours or as a separate figure for different types of work (or rate of pay).

The Order will come into force on 6 April 2019.

This legislation follows the Government’s response to the Taylor Review, published on 7 February 2018, and is the first of a number of changes the Government has committed to making to clarify employment rights.

It is important that employers of time-paid workers ensure that their pay slips are correct and that from 6 April 2019 payslips for time-paid workers state the number of hours being paid (if they do not already).

Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018

April 2019 The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 comes into force on 6 April 2020. It provides that the written statement of employment particulars must be given from day one of employment. It also changes the rules for calculating a week’s pay for holiday pay purposes, increasing the reference period for variable pay from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. Read More …

The Real Living Wage

November 2019 The Real Living Wage Rates are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, and are based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

The Real Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay payable to anyone aged 18 or over.

Read About The Plans For 2020 And Beyond
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2018

Injury to Feelings Compensation in Discrimination Claims

March 2018

The “Vento Bands” are used to determine levels of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination cases.

The ‘bandings’ are revisited now in line with inflation, and the new bands will apply to any discrimination claims presented on or after 6 April 2018. The Vento bands shall be increased as follows:

BAND NEW LEVEL OF COMPENSATION
Lower – for less serious cases £900 – £8,600
Middle – for serious cases which do not merit being in the higher band £8,600 – £25,700
Upper – the most serious cases £25,700 – £42,900
Exceptional cases Over £42,900

The next review will be in March 2019.

Tax on Termination Payments

April 2018

From 6 April 2018, all payments in lieu of notice (PILONs) will be subject to tax and national insurance contributions (NICs), regardless of whether the employee’s contract of employment contains a payment in lieu of notice (PILON) clause.

This means that payments made in lieu of a notice period will be treated as earnings and employers will no longer be able to utilise use the £30,000 income tax exemption for any such payments even if there is no PILON in an employee’s contract.

The tax exemption for payments up to £30,000 made in connection with termination of employment (such as redundancy) will remain in place, but payments above that amount will be subject to both income tax and employer NICs.

Auto-Enrolment

April 2018

From 6 April 2018 there will be an increase in the minimum contribution that employers and employees must pay into automatic enrolment workplace pensions, from 2% to 5%, with an employer minimum contribution of 2%. The employee will need to make up the shortfall between the employer’s contribution and the statutory minimum.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

April 2018

Private-sector, voluntary sector and public-sector organisations with 250 employees or more will be required to publish gender pay gap information for the first time.

Employers will be obliged to release information relating to employee pay and bonus pay, as well as information on the number of men and women in each quartile of the organisation’s pay distribution.

Gender pay gap regulations for private and voluntary sector employers are still in draft form but the deadline for the first report is expected to be 4 April 2018, based on pay and bonus data from 2016/17.

Reporting requirements for public-sector employers are expected to mirror private-sector timelines and requirements.

General Data Protection Regulations

25 May 2018

The General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679 EU) (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC).

In January 2012, the European Commission announced its intention to reform the data protection rules on the basis that reform is necessary to strengthen online data protection rights and boost Europe’s digital economy by harmonising data protection rules across the European Union (EU). The Commission proposed that the existing Directive would be replaced by a Regulation, which means that it would be binding on every member state and would not need to be transposed into national law.

The Regulation harmonises data protection law across the EU and extends it to include all foreign companies processing the data of EU residents. The Regulation:

  • provides for the creation of a single data protection authority instead of the supervisory authority of each member state, and the creation of data protection officers for all public authorities and companies processing high volumes of data;
  • provides for the imposition of a fine of €20 million or 4% of global turnover, whichever is greater;
  • requires the positive consent of individuals to have their data processed;
  • provides for the notification of breaches to the data protection authority; and
  • extends the special categories of information, such as trade union membership and religious belief or political opinion, to include information relating to health.

On 7 August 2017, the Government published a Statement of intent: A new Data Protection Bill – our planned reforms. It confirms that the Data Protection Bill will repeal the Data Protection Act 1998. The Bill will introduce a new data protection regime, including by making changes to the definition of “personal data” and the rules on consent, and bring data protection rules in the UK into line with the requirements of the GDPR. The Bill will utilise the derogations contained within the GDPR, including the derogations that permit the Government to legislate on the processing of criminal conviction and offence data and in the area of automated individual decision-making.

Real Living Wage Rates

5 November 2018

The Real Living Wage Rates are calculated annually by the Resolution Foundation and overseen by the Living Wage Commission, and are based on the best available evidence about living standards in London and the UK.

The Real Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay payable to anyone aged 18 or over.

On 5 November 2018 the Real Living Wage rates will be increased from:

  • UK £8.75 to £9.00; and
  • London £10.20 to £10.55

State Pension Age Rises to 66 Years

December 2018

The Pensions Act 2007 raises the state pension age from 65 to 66 years to reflect the ageing nature of the population. The rise in the state pension age to 66 for men and women begins gradually from December 2018 until April 2020. The Pensions Act 2007 also raises the state pension age to 67 and 68. The Act can be viewed on the OPSI website.
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2017

Free Childcare

September 2017

The government is planning to double the number of hours of free childcare for 3 and 4-year olds in working families from the current 15 hours to 30 hours from September 2017. Pilot programmes in some areas will offer 30 hours of free childcare from September 2016.

Changes to Rules for Employing Foreign Workers

April 2017

Employers sponsoring foreign workers with a tier 2 visa will be required to pay an immigration skills charge of £1,000 per worker (£364 for small employers and charities) beginning in April 2017. The immigration skills charge will be in addition to current fees for visa applications.

In April 2017, the minimum salary threshold for “experienced workers” applying for a tier 2 visa will also increase to £30,000. New entrants to the job market, and some health and education staff will be exempted from the salary threshold until 2019.

Apprenticeship Levy

April 2017

Employers with an annual payroll of more than £3 million will be required to pay a 0.5% levy on their total pay bill starting on 6 April 2017. This is subject to a £15,000 levy allowance. A group of connected employers will be eligible to decide the proportion of the £15,000 allowance to which each employing company will be entitled.

Employers who contribute to the levy will be able to access levied amounts, plus a government top-up of 10%, to fund apprenticeships from accredited training providers.

Smaller organisations that are not required to pay the levy will also be able to receive funding for accredited apprenticeships by contributing 10% towards the cost of an apprenticeship, with the Government paying the remaining cost.

Salary-sacrifice Schemes Significantly Restricted

April 2017

Employers may need to reconsider their benefit offerings as tax savings through many salary-sacrifice schemes will be abolished from 6 April 2017.

Schemes related to pension savings (including pensions advice), childcare, cycle-to-work and ultra-low emission cars will not be affected.

Schemes in place prior to April 2017 will be protected until April 2018, while arrangements related to cars, accommodation and school fees will be protected until April 2021.

Pensions Auto Enrolment Scheme

Variable Staging Dates

The Pensions Act 2008 provides that employers must automatically enrol all eligible employees not already participating in a workplace pension scheme into the employer’s pension scheme or the new personal accounts scheme under the National Employment Savings Trust pension scheme. The threshold for automatic enrolment is aligned with the personal allowance for income tax. Employers are not required automatically to enrol individuals employed for under 12 weeks. To encourage participation, employees’ pension contributions will be supplemented by employers’ contributions and tax relief.

These duties will be staged according to number of employees, the largest employers with 120,000+ employees will have to make these pension provisions available from 1 October 2012, employers employing less than 30 members they will have to provide the pension provisions as late as 1 January 2017.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2016

Employment Agency Amendment Regulations

8 May 2016

The conduct of employment agencies and businesses is governed by (amongst other things) The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003. From 8 May 2016, these are amended by the newly published The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2016.

The main change is the removal of the requirement for employment agencies/businesses to agree terms, and enter into a written contract, with hirers before providing any services.

There are other, subsidiary changes, including a requirement for the regulations to be reviewed by the Secretary of State every five years and some tweaking to the requirements for job adverts.

National Living Wage is Introduced

1 April 2016

The introduction of the NLW will see employers be legally obliged to pay workers aged 25 or over a minimum wage of £7.20 per hour.

This introduction is essentially an amendment to the National Minimum Wage regime, with this additional rate for workers aged 25 or above being introduced. As with the National Minimum Wage, in future the Low Pay Commission will make annual rate recommendations for increases in the NLW. The government have indicated that by 2020 they would like to see the NLW being above £9.00 per hour.

The introduction of the NLW is part of the government’s attempts to encourage a “higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare” society, and it is estimated that over two and a half million workers in the United Kingdom will benefit from its introduction. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that the cost to businesses will be around 1% of profit, however in accordance with the “higher-wage, lower-tax, lower-welfare” vision, the government plans to cut corporation tax in 2017 and further in 2018 to help offset the extra costs associated with the National Living Wage.

A new Labour Market Enforcement Director will be appointed to ensure that employers comply. The Regulations also increase the maximum financial penalty from 100% of the underpayment to 200%, subject to a maximum penalty of £20,000 (per underpaid worker) for pay reference periods beginning on or after 1 April 2016.

Further, anyone found guilty of non-compliance will be considered for disqualification as a Company Director for 15 years.

Equalisation of State Pension Age for Women

April 2016

The state pension age for women is equalised with the state pension age for men by November 2018, with an expedited increase from April 2016.

Zero Hours Contracts (Ban on the use of Exclusivity Clauses)

11 January 2016

The Government has previously consulted on the potential ways in which employers might seek to avoid the ban on the use of exclusivity clauses. It concluded that further measures were required including financial penalties for employers who try to avoid the ban and a right for zero hours workers not to be subjected to a detriment as a result of working for another employer.

The Exclusivity Terms in Zero Hours Contracts (Redress) Regulations 2015 provide:

  • A right for zero hours workers not to be unfairly dismissed if the reason, or principal reason, is that they have failed to comply with an exclusivity clause. There is no qualifying period of employment needed to bring such an unfair dismissal claim.
  • A right for zero hours workers not to be subjected to any detriment because they have failed to comply with an exclusivity clause.
  • Where an employer breaches these rights, the worker may issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal and seek a declaration and/or compensation.

We are also expecting guidance on best practice for providing and cancelling work and how to calculate benefits. The government has also announced plans to develop sector specific codes of practice on the fair use of zero hours contracts.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2015

Tax-free Childcare Scheme

Autumn 2015

Under the new scheme working families will be able to claim 20% of qualifying childcare costs up to a maximum of £2,000 per year.

The scheme will not be dependent on employer participation and the national insurance contribution advantages currently enjoyed by participating employers will no longer arise.

We are waiting for further details on how the scheme will work.

School Leaving Age is Raised to 18

Summer 2015

The Education and Skills Act 2008 changes the statutory framework to put a duty on all young people in England to participate in education or training until the age of 18.

Shared Maternity Leave

April 2015

As the Government announce more details on the administration of the new shared parental leave and pay rights included in the Children and Families Bill I will update this page. From 2015 parents will be able to share 50 out of 52 weeks’ statutory maternity leave and 37 out of 39 weeks’ statutory maternity pay. Read more …

Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay

April 2015

A new package of support for people who want to adopt will include a new right for adoptive parents to take time off work to meet the child they are set to adopt before the child moves in with them, and improvements to statutory adoption leave and pay that reflect the statutory maternity leave and pay system. Read more …

Surrogate Mothers Eligible for Adoption Leave and Pay

April 2015

Provided they meet the eligibility criteria parents who have a child through surrogacy will be permitted to take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay. Both parents will also be entitled to take unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.

Parental Leave Extended to 18

April 2015

The right to unpaid Parental Leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years.

Fit For Work Service

April 2015

The new Fit for Work service is scheduled to be introduced in England and Wales over the next year, offering employers access to free occupational assistance for employees who have been off sick for four weeks or more.

A helpline became operational from 15 December 2014 and a gradual roll out of an assessment service for GPs will run between May and September 2015. The assessment service will become available to employers from the Autumn 2015.

The service can also be used to provide more generalised open-access occupational health advice to employees, employers and general practitioners, regardless of the duration of any sickness.

Employers will be able to claim up to £500 tax relief on payments for medical treatment for their employees where the treatment has been recommended under the new scheme.

Read more …
EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2014

Fathers Entitled to Attend AnteNatal Appointments

October 2014

From 1 October 2014 fathers and a pregnant woman’s partner will have a new right to attend ante-natal appointments with the pregnant woman.

So what is the new right?

The right will be available to an employee or qualifying agency worker who has a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman or her expected child. This covers the following:

  • The pregnant woman’s husband or civil partner.
  • The pregnant woman’s partner (including same sex partner) who are in an enduring family relationship with her.
  • The father of the expected child.
  • One of a same sex couple who is to be treated as the child’s other parent under assisted reproduction legislation.
  • The potential applicant for a parental order in relation to a child born to a surrogate mother.

Eligible employees do not need to satisfy any qualifying period to exercise this new right, it applies from the first day of employment. The position is slightly different for agency workers, for example, they must have completed their 12 week qualifying period.

Unlike the pregnant woman’s right to paid time off for ante-natal appointments, the new right to time off for fathers is unpaid. You can choose to pay for the time off but when doing so you need to be consistent in your approach and note this in your policy and Employee Handbook.

The employee or agency worker can request time off for up to two antenatal appointments lasting no more than six and half hours which includes time for travelling, waiting and attendance at the appointment. This is the minimum required by law; it’s open to you to agree to someone taking more time off if that’s reasonable.

Employers will NOT be entitled to ask for evidence of the appointment, such as the appointment card, as this is not the property of the employee but the pregnant woman.

If you want an audit trail for the time off you can ask your employee to put their request in writing stating:

  • they are in a qualifying relationship either with the pregnant woman or the expected child;
  • are taking the time off to accompany the pregnant woman to the ante-natal appointment which has been arranged on the advice of a registered medial practitioner, midwife or nurse; and
  • the date and time of the appointment.

The right to time off may be refused when it is reasonable to do so, however, there is no guidance as to when it would be reasonable. An individual who is unreasonably refused time off to attend an ante-natal appointment can bring an Employment Tribunal claim. The remedy for a successful claim is compensation payable at twice the hourly rate for each hour that the employee could have taken off work.

Employees and qualifying agency workers will also be protected from any detriment arising from the exercise of their right to the time off. Dismissing an employee will be automatically unfair if the principal reason is for exercising their right to time off and the normal qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will not apply.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

Flexible Working for All Employees

June 2014

The Children and Families Bill extends the right to request flexible working, which currently applies to employees who have children under the age of 17 (18 if a child is disabled) or who are carers, to all employees in an attempt to reflect the increased role of grandparents, wider carers and the changing demands of the workforce generally. The statutory process for considering requests is replaced with a duty to deal with the request in a reasonable manner.

The Flexible Working Regulations 2014 came into force on 30th June and extend the right to make a request for flexible working to any employee who has been employed for 26 weeks and not just parents of children under 17, or 18 if disabled, and certain carers – as was previously the case.

The basic right to request is unchanged. Employees can make up to one written request every year and you can refuse the request on any of eight, very wide, business grounds. A tribunal cannot normally investigate the rights and wrongs of the refusal, only whether the procedure has been properly followed. Maximum compensation for a failure to comply is eight weeks’ pay, currently capped at £464 per week.

What’s Changed?

From 30 June 2014 any employee with 26 weeks’ continuous service can make a request to work flexibly, for whatever reason.

The procedure for requesting flexible working was also simplified. You must deal with the application in a “reasonable manner” and within a three month period, unless an extension is agreed. This replaced the more stringent statutory procedure which had specific time-frames for each step. You do still have the right to reject flexible working requests in the same way as they did previously, relying on one or more of the eight statutory business reasons for refusal.

The ACAS Code

The ACAS Code recommends that employers should:

  • talk to an employee as soon as possible after receiving a written request, unless the request will be approved;
  • allow employees to be accompanied at any discussion;
  • consider the request carefully;
  • inform the employee as soon as possible in writing of any decision; and
  • discuss how and when the changes might best be implemented or allow an appeal.

Dealing With Competing Requests

The issue of competing requests is complicated by potential discrimination risks. For example, if you are found to have unreasonably rejected a request from an employee who has childcare issues, you could expose yourself to a potential discrimination claim.

The ACAS guidance makes it clear that you are not required to make judgements about the most deserving request. However, it is likely that given the risk of discrimination claims, in some scenarios that is exactly what you may have to do to protect your business from potential claims.

It is important to remember that the statutory right to request flexible working remains a right to request only, there is no right to flexible work. You should therefore consider whether requests can be accommodated, and, if not, whether there are sufficient grounds, under the new regulations, for rejecting the requests.

Practical Issues

  • When refusing a request you must specify which of the statutory reasons applies, I recommend supporting this with an explanation.
  • Be vigilant over the that three month time scale, the whole process including any appeal should not exceed the three months unless an extension is mutually agreed.
  • If faced with competing requests be careful not to discriminate against either employee.
  • When considering a request I always recommend having a trial period before you make the change permanent.
  • Where an employee fails to attend a meeting and a subsequent rearranged meeting without good reason you may consider the request as withdrawn.
  • Document document document: always record the changes you agree with employee in writing.

Pre Tribunal Conciliation

May 2014

From 6 May 2014 individuals who wish to bring a tribunal claim will first have to send ACAS a completed Early Conciliation Form, or contact ACAS by phone who will complete the form on their behalf. Following the receipt of the Early Conciliation Form, ACAS will have one month to try and reach a settlement between the individual and the prospective respondent. If settlement is not reached, ACAS will then send the individual an Early Conciliation Certificate. Individuals will only be able to lodge a claim at tribunal once they have this Early Conciliation Certificate.

Transitional provisions apply between 6 April and 5 May, whereby individuals can voluntarily contact ACAS for early conciliation.

Immigration Bill

April 2014

Key changes for employers include:

  • the maximum civil penalty for an employer in respect of each illegal worker is to be increased from £10,000 to £20,000 (reduced to £15,000 for a first time breach)
  • the range of documents acceptable as evidence of the right to work is to be reduced
  • the need for annual checks on documents for an employee with time-limited status will be removed and replaced with a check at the point of expiry of the employee’s permission to be in the UK
  • the grace period for document checks to be made on employees acquired pursuant to a TUPE transfer is to be extended from 28 days to 60 days.

Changes to TUPE

January 2014

Changes to the TUPE regulations and the collective redundancies regime take effect tomorrow, Friday 31 January 2014. Key changes include:

  1. Collective redundancy consultation before a TUPE transfer will be possible – provided the transferee notifies the transferor in writing and the transferor agrees.
  2. The circumstances in which dismissals are automatically unfair under TUPE will be more limited – and place of work redundancies will no longer be automatically unfair.
  3. Changing terms and conditions of employment after a TUPE transfer will be easier – but only in some limited situations.
  4. Changes to terms and conditions of employment derived from collective agreements will be possible – if certain conditions are met.
  5. The deadline for providing employee liability information will be earlier. For transfers on or after 1 May 2014, the deadline for transferors to provide employee liability information will be 28 days before the transfer – an increase from the current 14 days.

The new legislation also confirms that a) there will only be a service provision change under TUPE if the post-transfer activities are “fundamentally the same” as those carried out before the transfer and b) where employment contracts incorporate the provisions of collective agreements agreed from time to time, future changes to those collective agreements will not apply to the transferee if it is not involved in agreeing those changes.

Employer Liability For Third Party Harassment

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2013

October 2013

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 repeals the section of the Equality Act 2010 which states that the employer will be liable where an individual is harassed by a third party if:

  1. The third party harassed the employee on at least two previous occasions; and
  2. The employer failed to take reasonably practicable steps to stop the harassment.

Therefore, as of 1 October 2013, the Government has decided to remove the third-party harassment provisions from the Equality Act 2010 and the employer can no longer be held vicariously liable for harassment by a third party in these circumstances. Simply-Docs has amended its Harassment and Bullying Policy accordingly and this updated document will be available to download from 1st October 2013. It is recommended that you replace your existing Harassment and Bullying Policy with the updated version.

Employee Owner Contracts

September 2013

The Government have introduced a new employment status called an “employee owner”. Under this type of contract, employee-owners/employee-shareholders will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares in the employer’s business, which will be exempt from capital gains tax, in exchange for giving up the following employment rights.

  • They will not have the ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal protection after two years’ continuous service (except in health and safety cases, automatically unfair cases or cases where the dismissal is discriminatory under the Equality Act);
  • They will be unable to make statutory requests to work flexibly or in relation to study or training, and will 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/employee-shareholders will have no right to statutory redundancy pay; and
  • They will have to give 16 weeks’ notice to return early from maternity, adoption or additional paternity leave, as compared with eight weeks for employees.

Employers cannot compel employees to transfer to employee-shareholder contracts. Employees who are dismissed for refusing to agree to become an employee-shareholder will be automatically unfairly dismissed and will not need two years’ service to bring a claim. Similarly, an employee cannot be subjected to a detriment, for example, by being disciplined or having their pay cut, if they refuse to become an employee-shareholder.

In order to ensure that employees do not feel unduly pressurised to become employee shareholders, the following provisions will also apply:

  • An offer of employee shareholder status must include a statement explaining the employment rights that would be sacrificed and the rights attaching to the shares;
  • The employee must receive advice from an independent legal advisor about the employment rights which are being given up and the rights attaching to the shares; and
  • The employee will be given a seven-day ‘cooling off’ period after receiving legal advice to decide if they wish to take part in an employee shareholder scheme.

Settlement Agreements

July 2013

Compromise Agreements will be renamed Settlement Agreements as of 29 July 2013.

Also, “pre-termination settlement negotiations” become permissible, which means that employers can make a settlement offer to an employee to terminate their employment. If terms cannot then be agreed, the employee is unable to refer to the discussions about termination in any subsequent unfair dismissal claim. This therefore extends the without prejudice rule to situations where there is no pre-existing dispute with the employee.

However, the confidential nature of the offer and conversation only relate to ‘standard’ claims of unfair dismissal meaning that the new rule is not applicable to claims of discrimination or automatic unfair dismissal. Furthermore, employers should ensure they comply with the new ACAS Statutory Code of Practice when making such offers (available on www.acas.org.uk). The new law only applies to offers made or discussions held on or after 29 July 2013.

School Leaving Age is Raised to 17

Summer 2013

The Education and Skills Act 2008 changes the statutory framework to put a duty on all young people in England to participate in education or training until the age of 17. It also amends legislation about the provision of adult education and training, and support for young people.

Equal Treatment for Agency Workers

June 2013

The Government has stated that it will review the “paperwork obligations of the Agency Workers Regulations to ensure the practical arrangements for employers are as simple as possible” in June 2013.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

Redundancy Consultation

April 2013

The Government have today announced that the large scale collective redundancy consultation period will be halved in April 2013 when the 90 day minimum consultation phase will be reduced to 45 days.

Employment relations minister Jo Swinson confirmed that a new 45 day consultation period would come into force for redundancies of 100 or more employees from April 2013.

As well as new legislation to reduce the minimum period to 45 days, Swinson announced that the conciliation service Acas will produce non-statutory guidance to address “key contentious issues”, aiming to promote good-quality redundancy consultation between employers and employees.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

Parental Leave Increases

March 2013

The Government has confirmed that it is to increase unpaid parental leave from 13 to 18 weeks from 8 March 2013.

Under the Parental Leave Directive, the parents of a child under the age of five will each have the right to take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave, an extension of five weeks from the current provisions.

The Directive, from the European Council, was due to come into force in March 2012 but the the Government used a grace period to delay the implementation whilst the implications of the Modern Workplace consultation were completed.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.

What Happened in 2012

Qualifying Period for Unfair Dismissal

April 2012

The Government has confirmed that the increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal protection from one to two years will apply only to employees who start a new job on or after 6 April 2012.

The two-year qualifying period will apply to employees who join an employer on or after 6 April 2012, whereas the current one-year qualifying period will continue to apply to employees who started their employment before 6 April 2012. The transitional arrangements will be the same as those that applied when the qualifying period was last increased in 1985.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK REVIEW

An hour of my time can save MANY hours of your time!
I can review your Employee Handbook for compliance with employment legislation and provide a written report detailing which sections of your handbook are out of date because legislation has changed and therefore putting your business at risk. I will also include my general observations of how the user friendliness of your Employee Handbook could be improved.

You will receive your report within 14 days of sending me your handbook.