2013 is shaping up to be another busy year for employment lawyers and HR professionals alike. With a raft of changes expected, we have summarised the most important, and will keep you updated throughout the year with regular blogs and tweets about employment law 2013.
1. From 1st February:
- the Unfair dismissal compensation award limit will increase from £72,300 to £74,200, and
- a week's pay for calculating statutory redundancy will increase from £430 to £450.
2. The Enterprise Regulatory and Reform Bill (ERRB), which is expected to come into force in stages, will remove the third party harassment provisions contained in the Equality Act 2010. For example, this means employers will no longer be liable for harassment of a member of staff by a customer or supplier who comes onto the employer's premises. ERRB stages include:
a. a duty on parties and ACAS to attempt Pre Claim Conciliation and the time limits to bring claims to Employment Tribunal being extended to facilitate this.
b. 'legal officers' to determine certain cases before an Employment Tribunal. There is no detail as to what those cases might be, but the parties will have to consent to the matter being dealt with by a legal officer.
c. Compromise Agreements to be renamed Settlement Agreements. Any discussions that take place with a view to agreeing exit terms will not be admissible in evidence before an Employment Tribunal. Again, ACAS is likely to be commissioned to produce a Code of Practice on this with model letters and documents for use by the parties.
3. The Children and Families Bill is also expected to extend parental leave from 13 to 18 weeks. Parents will also be able to share in 50 out of the 52 weeks of Statutory Maternity Leave and 37 out of the 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay. (The Bill will also extend flexible working to all employees with at least 26 weeks service. However this particular provision is not expected to be brought into force until sometime in 2014.)
4. Redundancy Consultation - The time limit where 100 or more redundancies are proposed, will be reduced from 90 days to 45 days. ACAS is to be commissioned to produce new guidance on this.
5. The Growth and Infrastructure Bill will introduce an amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996 and will provide for employee shareholder status. Such status will be given to those who give up certain employment rights in return for shares in the business - which will be exempt from Capital Gains Tax.
6. Statutory benefits will also increase:
- Rates for statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay will increase from £135.45 to £136.78.
- Statutory sick pay increases from £85.85 to £86.70.
- Maternity allowance increases from £135.45 to £136.78.
For more information or advice on any of the above please get in touch with one of our team.