3rd January 2013

Employment: New Year’s Round Up

Date (2013) Change Detail

 

1 Feb Annual increases in tribunal awards limits/statutory redundancy week’s pay The upper limit on unfair dismissal compensatory awards will rise from £72,300 to £74,200, and the maximum week’s pay figure will increase from £430 to £450
March Parental leave The right to unpaid parental leave will increase from 13 to 18 weeks per parent per child in line with the EU parental leave directive
April SMP and SSP increases SMP will increase from £135.45 to £136.78 and SSP will increase from £85.85 to £86.70, most likely with effect from the week commencing 8 April 2013
Probably April Consultation period for collective redundancies The minimum collective redundancy consultation period, in redundancy situations involving 100 or more employees at one establishment within a 90-day period, will be reduced from 90 days to 45, and the expiry of fixed-term contracts at the end of their term will not trigger collective redundancy consultation obligations.  A new, non-statutory, ACAS Code of Practice will also be introduced, to include guidance on the meaning of ‘establishment’
Probably April Rights for shares Employers will be able to offer employees £2k – £50k worth of shares in their company, free of capital gains tax, in return for them agreeing (1) to give up rights in respect of unfair dismissal, redundancy, flexible working, and time off for training, and (2) to provide 16 weeks’ notice of a firm date of return from maternity or adoption leave, instead of the usual 8.  The Bill is likely to be passed early in the year with the changes most likely to come into force in April
Probably April Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill The Bill provides for (1) all tribunal cases to be submitted for ACAS conciliation (2) some cases to be determined by ‘legal officers’ rather than tribunals (3) EAT judges generally to sit alone (4) confidentiality of evidence of pre-termination negotiations (5) a more flexible power to set and vary the statutory maximum limit on the unfair dismissal compensatory award (6) a new power to impose financial penalties on employers where they have breached a worker’s rights and there are aggravating features (7) whistleblowing protection to be confined to disclosures made in the public interest (8) ‘compromise’ agreements to be renamed ‘settlement’ agreements (9) a narrowing of the remit and powers of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (10) removing liability for third party acts of harassment (11) removing Equality Act 2010 provisions for obtaining information for proceedings and (12) regulations to be made requiring tribunals to order equal pay audits. The majority of the employment provisions will probably be brought into force in April, subject to consent from the Scottish Parliament in relation to devolved matters
Probably summer Tribunal Fees The introduction of a fee structure for tribunal claims
October Executive pay reporting requirements Directors’ remuneration reports will need to include (1) a report detailing the remuneration policy, which will need shareholder approval, and (2) a further annual report on how the remuneration policy has been implemented, to include details of actual payments made, expressed as a single figure for the total pay received by any given director
October Gender Reporting Changes to reporting requirements will include a requirement for quoted companies to report on the gender mix of those on its board and throughout the company

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