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Heads up for 2013; developments due in the year

Posted on January 04, 2013

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Heads Up for 2013:

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is shuffling through parliament. Worryingly, this will enable Tribunals to impose financial penalties against employers of up to £5,000 where there are ‘aggravating features’. It will also permit employers to have “protected conversations” with employees about severance, but that is unlikely to be much different to ‘without prejudice’ conversations now.

From the 1st February 2013 Tribunal limits will go up, with a week’s pay for statutory redundancy payments and basic award for unfair dismissal increasing from £430 to £450, and the maximum award for compensatory awards in unfair dismissal going up from £72,300 to £74,200.

The much-criticised Employee-shareholder contracts announced by George Osborne in the Autumn will be introduced (see reculversolicitors.co.uk/1019.htm ).

In March 2013 unpaid parental leave will increase to 18 weeks (from 13 weeks up to the 5th birthday). The limit on how much parental leave can be taken a year is 4 weeks. Take up of this right appears to have been low so this change is unlikely to make much difference in practice.

In March 2013 CRB checks will change to ‘Disclosure & Barring Service’ checks and will be portable between employers, and which will save fluffing around getting repeat CRB / DBS checks every time someone changes jobs when they work with children or vulnerable adults.

In April 2013 the collective consultation period will reduce to 45 days where 100 or more redundancies are proposed. For most employers though who do not make more than 20 redundancies, there will still not be a prescribed consultation period.

In April 2013 the HMRC will introduce ‘Real-time information’ for payroll (see hmrc.gov.uk/rti/index.htm) which is likely to vex employers and accountants alike.

In April 2103 the Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption pay will increase apparently by a princely 1% from £135.45 pw. Statutory sick pay will also go up.

In the summer 2013 it seems that fees for bringing employment tribunal claims may be introduced. Presumably unemployed claimants (ie most claimants) will get dispensation from the fees, and the already over-worked Tribunal service will have another layer of administration to contend with. Whether this idea will be quietly dropped in the same way as no-fault dismissals (see reculversolicitors.co.uk/1023.htm) remains to be seen.

We will keep you updated on these and other developments throughout the year

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