Employment law change - what businesses need to know - Business Leader News

Employment law change – what businesses need to know

Alex Lyttle

Alex Lyttle of Wards Solicitors

Alex Lyttle of Wards Solicitors tackles the subject of employment law change, and what this means for businesses in North Somerset, in this latest column for the Weston Echo.

What have you missed already?

February 2012 – Statutory redundancy payments and guarantee payments increase

The maximum amount of a week’s pay used to calculate a statutory redundancy payment and the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal increased from £400 to £430 on 1 February 2012. The maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award increased from £68,400 to £72,300. The limit on the amount of a guarantee payment payable to an employee in respect of any day also increased from £22.20 to £23.50.

What’s coming in April 2012?

Qualifying period for unfair dismissal protection is increased

The biggest change to employment rights for 2012 is the increase of the qualifying period for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim from one year to two years. This change comes into force on 6 April 2012.

The Government has said that it intends to increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal in order to: “provide more time for employers and employees to resolve difficulties, give employers greater confidence in taking on people and ease the burden on the employment tribunal process”.

Changes to employment tribunal procedure

The Government has announced a “fundamental review” of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure, with substantial changes to employment tribunal procedure expected to be introduced on 6 April 2012. Employment judges will hear unfair dismissal cases alone in the tribunal, unless they direct otherwise.

The maximum amount of a deposit order, which a tribunal can order a party to pay as a condition to continuing with tribunal proceedings, will increase from £500 to £1,000.

The maximum amount of a costs order, which a tribunal may award in favour of a legally represented party, will increase from £10,000 to £20,000. Witness statements are to be taken “as read” unless a tribunal directs otherwise.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay increase

The Government has confirmed that the standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £128.73 to £135.45 per week from 1 April 2012. Statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week from 6 April 2012.

Anything else?

October 2012 – Pensions auto-enrolment begins

In what may prove to be one of the biggest challenges of the year for larger employers, starting from 1 October 2012, employers with 50 or more employees have to enrol eligible employees automatically, and make mandatory employer contributions, into a qualifying workplace pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest).

If you are confused by the recent changes in employment law please contact Alex Lyttle for advice or go to Wards Law Donut or Personnel Today for further information. http://wards.uk.com/