Bulletin: Employment law changes effective from 6th April

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Bulletin: Employment law changes effective from 6th April

01 Apr 2014
  • The statutory rate of pay for maternity, paternity and adoption leave will be raised from £136.78 to £138.18
  • The Statutory Sick Pay will be raised from £86.70 to £87.55
  • The statutory week’s pay for the purpose of calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will be raised from £450 to £464
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be raised from £74,200 to £76,574in situations where this exceeds the equivalent of 12 months of the employee’s pay
  • Employees will not be able to issue claims in an employment tribunal unless an Early Conciliation certificate has been issued by ACAS. An employee who has a grievance is now required to initially lodge the details of their proposed claim with ACAS who will then have up to one month to achieve a settlement between the claimant and employer. If no settlement is reached, the certificate will be issued and the employee may proceed with a formal tribunal claim. Please note that either party may refuse to participate in the process and ACAS will issue the certificate stating that settlement could not be reached.
  • Employment tribunals now have the power to impose financial penalties on employers when the employer’s breach of employment rights has “one or more aggravating features”. The increase can be up to 50% of the initial award up to a maximum of £5000 with a 50% reduction available for early payment.
  • Statutory discrimination questionnaires have been abolished; however this does not prevent those who feel they have been discriminated against from asking legitimate questions in order to seek information from their employer. The tribunal is entitled to make inferences from an employer’s refusal to cooperate with an employee who raises legitimate questions. This change is designed to encourage the resolution of issues without recourse to a tribunal and ACAS has produced guidance for employees and employers regarding the appropriate use of questions in the absence of the statutory procedure

In addition to these changes, effective from 6 April 2014, the time period for employers enrolling eligible workers into a qualified pension scheme will increase from one month to six weeks.

For advice or enquiries relating to anything in this article or regarding any aspect of employment law, please contact us.

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