What to expect from 2014 – Proposed changes to employment law

As we begin a new year in 2014, employers should be aware of the forthcoming changes in employment law and the impact these changes will bring. Please find some useful information for the year ahead below:

Date Change Effect
31 January 2014 Changes to TUPE come into force by The Department for Business Innovation and Skills The Government have consulted over a number of proposed changes to TUPE and the following are being taken forwards:

  • Renegotiation of terms derived from collective agreements, where the variation is by reason of the transfer, will be allowed one year after the transfer, provided that overall the change is no less favourable to the employee.
  • Regulations will provide for a static approach to the transfer of terms derived from collective agreements (i.e. transferees should not be affected by any subsequent variations or new collective agreements relating to the transferor following the transfer).
  • Regulations will provide for changes in the location of the workforce following a transfer to be within the scope of economic, technical or organisational reasons, entailing changes in the workforce, thereby preventing genuine place of work redundancies from being automatically unfair.
1 April 2014 Regulations extending the window for automatic enrolment come into force The Automatic Enrolment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 extend the time period available to employers for auto enrolling eligible job holders into qualifying schemes from one month to six weeks.
6 April 2014 Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases The rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases.
6 April 2014 Statutory sick pay increases The rate of statutory sick pay increases.
6 April 2014 Employment allowance introduced The Chancellor, George Osborne, announced in the budget of 2013 that all businesses, including charities, are entitled to receive an employment allowance of £2,000 towards their employer national insurance contributions bill.
6 April 2014 Early conciliation comes into force The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 requires potential claimants to lodge details of their proposed employment tribunal claim with Acas in the first instance. Acas will offer the parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation with a conciliation officer for a prescribed period.Where the conciliation officer concludes that a settlement is not possible, or where the prescribed period ends without reaching a settlement, the claimant will be issued with a certificate permitting them to issue proceedings.
6 April 2014 Right to request flexible working extended The Children and Families Bill extends the right to request flexible working to all employees. Currently, the right applies to employees who have children under the age of 17 (18 if a child is disabled) or who are carers. The statutory flexible working procedure for considering requests is replaced with a duty on employers to deal with requests in a reasonable manner, and a statutory code of practice is introduced to give guidance as to the meaning of “reasonable”.
6 April 2014 Discrimination questionnaire repealed The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 repeals s.138 of the Equality Act, which sets out the procedure enabling an individual to obtain information regarding discrimination and to use that information in tribunal proceedings.
April 2014 (exact date to be confirmed) Financial penalties imposed on employers who breach employment rights The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act gives tribunals the power to levy a financial penalty against employers that are in breach of employment rights, where the breach has one or more aggravating features. If the tribunal makes an award of compensation, the amount of the penalty will be 50% of the award. The penalty is subject to a minimum threshold of £100 and an upper ceiling of £5,000. Employers will qualify for a reduction of 50% if they pay the penalty within 21 days.
Spring 2014 Managing sickness absence and the Health and Work Service The Health and Work Service is to be introduced, offering free occupational health assistance to employees, employers and GPs, including an independent assessment of employees who have been off sick for four weeks.The service will provide advice for employers, employees and GPs throughout the sickness absence process, and a case management facility for the minority of employees with complex needs who require on-going support to enable their return to work. The government had previously announced that the service would be introduced in spring 2014, although this has not been confirmed.

If you are registered on our mailing list we will send further information on the above changes over the course of the year. To register on our mailing list, just enter your email into the ‘Join our mailing list’ box on the left and click to ‘join’.

For further information on any of the changes above, please contact Victoria Kitchen in our Employment team on 0161 475 7670.

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