Are Your Staff Still Legal? Employment Law Update

Employment law is updated regularly. To keep you up to speed and on the right side of the law, I?m running a workshop in Reading on 20 November 2013. Click here to book your place for just £10 +VAT.

In the meantime, here is a quick summary of some of the more recent updates that you need to know about, that have been made since the update blog I wrote in July 2013.

Employment tribunal fees introduced. Fees are now charged for issuing and hearing tribunal claims and for various applications made during tribunal proceedings. Fees were introduced on 29 July 2013 in respect of claims issued on or after that date. Claims already before the tribunal at that date are unaffected. Click here to read a leaflet that tells you more about the exact charges.

New employment tribunal rules in force. The new rules are intended to simplify and streamline the tribunal process and to cut costs. They came into force on 29 July 2013 and apply to all claims irrespective of when they were issued.

Settlement agreements. Also from 29 July 2013, the Government’s proposals for facilitating the use of settlement agreements came into force. As an employer you can now offer a settlement agreement at any time, irrespective of whether there is an existing dispute. Neither you nor your employee can later refer to the fact that an agreement has been offered in subsequent unfair dismissal proceedings, should an agreement not be reached.

Compensatory award cap. A cap on the compensatory award of one year’s pay has been introduced.  The previous statutory maximum will apply, if lower. The new cap applies where the effective date of termination is on or after 29 July 2013.

Employee shareholder contracts. Since September 2013 you are able to offer employee shareholder contracts to new and existing staff, although existing staff cannot be forced to agree. Under these contracts, employee shareholders must be given free shares worth at least £2,000. Shares issued up to £50,000 in value will qualify for capital gains tax relief. In return, employee shareholders are required to give up their rights to claim unfair dismissal, a redundancy payment and to request flexible working and time off for training.

National minimum wage increases. The national minimum wage increased on 1 October 2013. Click here to see all the numbers and how they’ve changed.

And as if that’s not enough, there are more changes coming in April 2014! Some will affect maternity and paternity leave, so come to my next workshop to find out more.