April has seen some changes in the area of employment, so this month’ blog provides a snapshot of those changes including Statutory payments,  legal changes plus other reminders for changes that have occurred over the past few months.

Statutory Pay increases

From 1st April 2012 the Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP), Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) and Additional Statutory Paternity Pay will increase from the current rate of £128.73 to £135.45 per week.  Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will increase from £81.60 to £85.85per week.

The weekly earning threshold for SMP, SPP and SAP will also increase from £102 to £107.

Minimum Wage increase

As from October 2011 the following increases apply:

Apprentice£2.60 per hour
Older than school leaver but younger than 18£3.68 per hour
18 – 20 years of age£4.98 per hour
21 + years of age£6.08 per hour

 

Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure

Finally, the Government has announced a ‘fundamental review’ of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure, resulting in substantial changes to employment tribunal procedure as of 6 April 2012.

These are:

  • Employment judges will hear unfair dismissal cases alone in the tribunal, unless they direct otherwise.
  • The maximum amount of a deposit order, which a tribunal can order a party to pay as a condition to continuing with tribunal proceedings, will increase from £500 to £1,000.
  • The maximum amount of a costs order, which a tribunal may award in favour of a legally represented party, will increase from £10,000 to £20,000. Witness statements will cease to be read aloud and are to be taken “as read” unless a tribunal directs otherwise.

From 1st February 2012 the following applies

  • For calculating statutory redundancy payments, a week’s pay increases from £400 to £430.
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise  from £68,400 to £72,300

Unfair Dismissal qualifying period extension

Current legislation requires an employee to have completed a period of 12 months continuous service before being able to lodge a complaint for unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal. From 6th April this will be extended from 12 month to 2 years. Therefore anyone employed after 6th April will be employed under the new qualifying period, those employed before then will retain their 12 month qualifying period. However, please remember that complaints on the grounds of discrimination (age, ethnicity, gender, sexual preferences) carry no qualifying period and can be the subject of a complaint from as early in the recruitment process as the advert.

Parental Leave

Currently an eligible employee is entitled to take up to 13 weeks unpaid parental leave, which is normally to be taken before the child’s 5th birthday. It had been anticipated that by 8th March there would have been an extension on worker’s rights to parental leave from three to four months, this has been put on hold for the moment.

May Bank Holiday – it’s moving

The Spring Bank Holiday that would normally occur over the last weekend of May, has been moved to Monday 4th June so that it can be linked with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on Tuesday 5th June.

The 5th June has been marked as an additional Bank Holiday, however, there is no automatic entitlement for employees to receive the extra Bank Holiday. Many employers are putting in place the same /similar arrangements as were agreed for the Royal Wedding last year.

Reminders

In addition to the above, employers should remember that all organisations and their officers and employees are bound by the Bribery Act 2010 and are liable for acts of bribery that are committed in the UK and abroad. If you or your staff are not familiar with this act, please contact me on lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk

From October 2012 auto-enrolment of all new employees into a pension scheme comes into force. The number of staff you employ will have a direct impact on when you will be forced to join a pension scheme. If you have not made a pension provision for staff then there will be an obligation to join the state sponsored National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) when the time comes.

Check out the government’s website for further details

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Pensionsandretirementplanning/Companyandpersonalpensions/WorkplacePensions/DG_183783?cid=Retirement%20&%20Pensions&type=sponsoredsearch&cre=homepage&pla=google

or speak with me, or your accountant or your independent financial advisor.

Organisations with fewer than 50 staff will be given additional time to prepare for the March 2015 deadline. Ultimately enrolled employees must contribute 4% whilst another 1% is made up of tax relief and employers will contribute a minimum of 3%. The requirements will be phased in with an initial requirement of 1% rising to 3% by 2017. Make sure you are planning now for this eventuality, time and tide wait for no man or woman!

For more information contact us, a HR company in Cheshire today!