Employment Law Changes
A number of employment law reforms came into force in early April 2012 which significantly altered the rights afforded to employees.
The introduction of the Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order SI 2012/989 has increased the qualifying period required to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, or request a written statement of reasons for dismissal, from one year to two years.
Importantly, this increase will only apply to employees who start a new job on or after 6 April 2012. Employees whose employment commenced before this date will still be subject to the old qualifying period of one year.
As of 1 April 2012 the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2012 SI 2012/780 increased payments in respect of Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Additional Paternity, Adoption Pay and Maternity Allowance from £128.73 per week to £135.45.
The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunals Composition) Order 2012 SI 2012/988, introduced on 6 April 2012, now enables judges to sit alone in unfair dismissal cases, rather than as a panel with two other lay members.
It is hoped that this will help to speed up the Tribunal process and result in shorter waiting times for hearing dates.
Further the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/468 enables judges to take witness statements as read during hearings. This will dramatically reduce the length of hearings as it will not be necessary for witnesses to formerly read out their written statements.
The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/468 has also introduced an increase to the maximum costs order from £10,000.00 to £20,000.00.
Further, an increase to the deposit order payable for weak claims has increased from £500.00 to £1,000.00.
Statutory Sick Pay
The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2012 SI 2012/780 has increased Statutory Sick Pay from £81.60 to £85.85.
KBL are able to provide further information or advice to businesses in relation to how the changes may affect your working practices and whether any changes are required.