Since the election of the Labour Government in 1997, there have been many changes in UK employment law. Each following year has seen new additions and revisions made to the field and 2011 shows no sign of these changes slowing down.
Therefore it is essential for any employer to stay up to date with developments.
The following highlights the 10 key developments arising in the next 10 months.
In February 2011 changes will occur to the limits applied to tribunal awards. The maximum amount of a ‘week’s pay’ that can currently be awarded is £380 and this will be increased to £400. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will also increase from the current £65,300 to £68,400.These changes will occur on or after 1 February 2011.
The Bribery Act
This Act will come into force in April 2011 and will introduce new criminal offences. Employers should be aware of the penalties with regards to the offence of failing to prevent bribery. Consequences of the offence can lead to imprisonment and fines.
In April 2011, all parents with children under the age of 18 will be able to claim the right to request flexible working hours.
Additional paternity leave
On or after 3 April 2011, fathers of new born babies will see their paternity leave entitlement increase to six months.
Time off for training
In April 2011 all employees who have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks may have the right to claim time off for training. It should be noted that this development is currently under review.
April 2011 will see the weekly rates of statutory sick pay increase from £79.15 to £81.60. The weekly rates of statutory materity, paternity and adoption leave pay will also increase from £124.88 to £128.73.
The right for employers to take positive action on recruitment and promotion comes into force in April 2011. Provided that an individual is as qualified as other candidates, this right allows an employer to recruit or promote on the basis of sex and gender etc. The decision however must be made on a case-by-case basis.
The transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (Amendment) Regulations 2010 will come into force on 5 June 2011. These regulations will see changes made to the European workplace.
The Agency Workers Regulations will come into force in October 2011.
On or after 1 October 2011, the statutory default retirement age of 65 will no longer exist. All employers will have to justify compulsory retirement of any employee so to avoid claim of age discrimination or unfair dismissal.