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9 January 2013

Employment law developments in 2013

Our employment team looks ahead at the changes to employment law expected during 2013.

The year ahead looks set to be an extremely busy one, with a large number of changes to employment law due to take place as a result of the Government’s plan to reform and simplify existing employment legislation.

Employers will need to take note of the following key developments (some dates are still to be confirmed):

February 2013

  • New tribunal award limits take effect from 1 February 2013, including an increase to a week’s pay from £430 to £450 and the upper limit for unfair dismissal compensation increasing from £72,300 to £74,200.

March 2013

  • Increase to the number of weeks of parental leave available for parents under the revised Parental Leave Directive, from 13 to 18 weeks per child, due to take effect by 8 March 2013.
  • Introduction of online checks with the new Disclosure and Barring Service (formed following the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)).

April 2013

  • Various changes to be introduced under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (likely to be from April), including:
    • All tribunal cases to be submitted for conciliation to Acas first.
    • Repeal of the third-party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010.
    • Repeal of the obligation on an employer to respond to discrimination questionnaires under the Equality Act 2010.
    • New power to the Secretary of State to amend the maximum amount of the compensatory award in claims for unfair dismissal.
    • Compromise agreements to be renamed ‘settlement agreements’, with a new Acas Code of Practice on settlement together with a model agreement and standard letters.
    • Pre-termination settlement negotiations to be excluded from being used in evidence at tribunal hearings.
  • Introduction of the new “employee-shareholder” status, whereby certain employment rights are surrendered in exchange for shares, under the Growth and Infrastructure Bill.
  • Reduction in minimum consultation period for collective redundancies affecting 100 or more employees, from 90 days to 45 days, with effect from 6 April 2013.
  • Increase to the standard rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) from £85.85 to £86.70 per week, with effect from 6 April 2013.
  • Increase to the standard rate of statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay from £135.45 to £136.78 per week, with effect from 7 April 2013.

Also likely in 2013 (date to be confirmed)

  • Fees for issuing tribunal claims introduced, the applicable rate to depend on the complexity of the case.
  • New employment tribunal Rules of Procedure to take effect.

The Steeles Law employment team will be looking in more detail at these changes, as well as looking back at important developments over the previous year, at our forthcoming Employment Update breakfast seminar, due to take place on 21 March 2013.  Please check our website or contact us for further details.

For any employment enquiries please contact the Steeles Law employment team on employment@steeleslaw.co.uk or 01603 598000.