Employment Law Changes Calendar 2014

The changes which have been, or are to be introduced in 2014 are outlined below.

From January

Pensions auto-enrolment – employers with 350-499 employees will be expected to offer a qualifying pension scheme to their staff by the start of 2014. CIPD members can see more information on auto-enrolment on our pensions pages developed in partnership with KPMG. Click here for more information.

Nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, the ‘A2’ countries who joined the EU in 2007, had their restrictions on working in any EU Member State lifted from 1 January. Find our more on employing migrant workers from this factsheet.

Transfer of undertakings reform – changes to the TUPE Regulations came into effect on 31 January. Find out more in this factsheet.

In March

Penalties for employers who do not pay the minimum wage rose substantially from 7 March. BIS has published information on the new penalties.

Changes to spent convictions – the period during which certain convictions need to be disclosed to potential employers was reduced from 10 March. The Ministry of Justice has published guidance on the changes.

In April

The regulation freeze continues, and is extended to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. These businesses will be exempted from new regulations if there is any evidence that they will result in disproportionate burdens that could impede growth. This applies to new regulations which come into force after 31 March 2014.

Pensions auto-enrolment – the time period for employers to auto-enrol eligible jobholders into a qualifying pension scheme is extended from one month to six weeks. The deadline for providing information to the Pensions Regulator has been extended – from 1 April.

Under the National Insurance Contributions Act 2014, an employment allowance entitles every business and charity to a £2,000 reduction in employer national insurance contributions (NICs) bills each year. The allowance can be claimed from 6 April 2014. HMRC have published a calculator and information on how to claim it.

Early conciliation through Acas was introduced on 6 April. Claimants must now send details of their dispute to Acas who will attempt conciliation and settlement, before the claimant can initiate an employment tribunal claim. Acas guidance has been issued.

The discrimination questionnaires provisions of the Equality Act 2010, by which a person could obtain information about potential discrimination from an alleged discriminator, were abolished – from 6 April.  Acas guidance has been issued.

Employment tribunals can levy a financial penalty up to a maximum of £5,000 on employers found to have breached an employee’s employment rights – introduced on 6 April.

The maximum civil penalty for illegally employing an immigrant rose from £10,000 to £20,000 – from 6 April.

The rates of statutory sick pay (SPP) increased from £86.70 to £87.55 from 6 April. The Percentage Threshold Scheme, which allowed employers to reclaim statutory sick pay in certain circumstances, was abolished from 6 April.

The basic rates of maternity allowance and statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory paternity pay (SPP) and statutory adoption pay (SAP) all increased from £136.78 to £138.18 – from 6 April.

Increased limits on employment tribunal awards – came into force on 6 April (in previous years, these increases happened in February):

  • the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal rose from £74,200 to £76,574
  • the limit on a ‘weeks pay’  rose from £450 to £464.

In June

The right to request flexible working was extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ service – from 30 June. Employers also now have a duty to consider requests in a reasonable manner. Acas have produced a new Code of Practice on the new duty, together with non-statutory guidance for employers.

In October

National Minimum Wage rates – will increase from 1 October: the standard adult rate to £6.50, the development rate for those aged 18-20 to £5.13, the young workers rate for those aged 16-17 to £3.79, and the apprentice rate to £2.73.

Employment tribunals will be able to order an employer to carry out an equal pay audit in circumstances where it is clear they have breached the equal pay provisions in the Equality Act 2010. Draft Regulations have been laid before Parliament which are expected to come into force on 1 October.

In December

Section 56 of the Data Protection Act (DPA) – will make it an offence for an employer to require an employee or job applicant to use their DPA subject access rights to produce a copy of their criminal record – from 1 December.