RECENT AND PENDING
3 April 2011 The standard weekly rate of statutory maternity pay (SMP) and the weekly rates
of ordinary statutory paternity pay (OSPP), additional statutory paternity pay
(ASPP) and statutory adoption pay (SAP) increased from £124.88 to £128.73 per
week (or 90% of the person’s average weekly earnings if these are less than
6 April 2011 The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) increased from £79.15 to £81.60.
The lower earnings limit for qualifying for SSP, SMP, OSPP, ASPP and SAP
increased from £97.00 to £102.00 per week.
6 April 2011 The statutory right to request flexible working has been extended to employees
who are parents of children under 18 years old. It was previously applicable to
parents of children under 17 years old, or under 18 years old if the child is
disabled, as well as carers of specified adults.
6 April 2011 Subject to transitional provisions, the statutory default retirement age of 65 has
been abolished. The provisions which previously made it non-discriminatory to
force someone to retire at 65 (or at the employer’s normal retirement age, if
higher) and the provisions which made a dismissal for retirement fair, provided the
statutory retirement procedure was followed, have also been abolished.
Under the transitional provisions, the last date for issuing a notice of intended
retirement date under the previous regime was 5 April 2011 and the employer
could set the retirement date at any time up to 12 months later, provided six to 12
months’ notice of intended retirement was given, the statutory retirement
procedure is followed correctly and the employee reaches the age of 65 (or, if
higher, the employer’s normal retirement age) on or before 30 September 2011.
From 6 April 2011 onwards, setting a contractual retirement age and then
commencing a procedure to retire an employee who reaches that age has to be
objectively justified under direct age discrimination provisions, which will be
extremely difficult to do other than in exceptional circumstances.
Consistent with removing the default retirement age, from 6 April 2011, it is also
no longer lawful to reject a job application simply because the applicant is within
six months of reaching age 65 or the normal retirement age.
Finally, the Government has also introduced an exception to the age discrimination
rules so that employers can stop offering employees insured benefits, such as life
assurance and private medical cover, beyond whichever is the greater of 65 and
state pension age.
5 June 2011 The Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (Amendment)
Regulations 2010 ('TICE') will come into force.
1 July 2011 The Bribery Act 2010 will come into force. It constitutes significant reform of the
criminal law in relation to bribery offences committed by individuals and
businesses in the UK and overseas and is one of the strictest pieces of anti-
corruption legislation in the world.
Most important for employers, it introduces a new strict liability corporate offence
of failing to prevent bribery by a person associated with the business, which is
subject only to an ‘adequate procedures’ defence. This means that, in order to
escape a criminal conviction and an unlimited fine, the business must show it had
adequate procedures in place designed to prevent individuals who perform
services on its behalf (such as employees, agents and subsidiaries) from bribing.
1 October 2011 The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 implement the EU Agency Workers
Directive and they will, for the first time, give agency workers the right to equal
treatment in relation to pay, holidays and other basic working and employment
conditions as directly recruited permanent staff after 12 weeks in a given job. The
rights on pay will apply not just to the basic hourly rate but to all pay for work
done, including bonuses that are directly related to the performance of the agency
worker personally. However, they will not extend to some of the wider benefits
that permanent staff can enjoy in the context of their longer-term relationship with
their employer, such as occupational pensions and sick pay.
In addition, from the first day of their assignment, agency workers will be entitled
Information about internal vacancies to give them the same opportunity as
other workers to find permanent employment.
Equal access to on-site facilities such as child care and transport services.
Additional rights for new and expectant mothers including reasonable time off
to attend ante-natal appointments and adjustments to working conditions and
Employment tribunals will have jurisdiction to hear complaints from agency
workers who consider their rights under the regulations have been breached or
that they have suffered a detriment for asserting their rights under the
regulations, subject to a time limit of three months from the date of alleged
breach or detriment.
To ensure that workers are not deprived of their rights by unscrupulous agencies
and employers, the regulations include provisions that deal with repeat
assignments designed to prevent workers acquiring equal treatment rights.
Agencies and hiring employers face having to pay compensation of up to £5,000
to the worker if an employment tribunal finds that the specific anti-avoidance rules
have been breached.
1 October 2011 The National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2010
have increased the various NMW rates as follows:
The adult rate for workers aged 21 and over has increased from £5.93 per
hour to £6.08.
The rate paid to workers aged 18 to 20 has increased from £4.92 per hour to
The rate paid to workers aged below 18 who have ceased to be of compulsory
school age has increased from £3.64 per hour to £3.68.
The per day value of the accommodation amount which is applicable where
the employer provides the worker with living accommodation has increased
from £4.61 to £4.73 for each day that accommodation is provided.
The new rate applicable to apprentices who are under 19, or those aged 19
and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship has increased from £2.50
per hour to £2.60 per hour.
October 2011 The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 require public bodies to
publish information demonstrating compliance with s.149(1) "to have due regard
to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster
good relations" by specific dates each year.
In particular, Schedule 1 public bodies – by 31 January and Schedule 2 public
bodies – by 6 April each year.
The information demonstrating compliance must include information relating to
those who share a 'protected characteristic'
1 February 2012 The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2011 will come into force from
1 February 2012. The Order has increased the limits applying to certain awards of
employment tribunals and to other amounts payable under employment
legislation. The main changes are:
Maximum amount of a ‘week’s pay’ for the purpose of calculating a
redundancy payment or the basic or additional award of compensation for
unfair dismissal or payments to employees in the event of insolvency –
increased from £400 to £430.
Limit on the amount of compensatory award for unfair dismissal – increased
from £68,400 to £72,300.
Limit on the daily amount of statutory guarantee payment – increased from
£22.20 to £23.50.
The increases apply where the event giving rise to the entitlement to
compensation or other payment occurs on or after 1 February 2011. The date is
determined differently depending on the type of claim brought. In unfair dismissal
claims, this date is the effective date of termination of employment. In guarantee
payment claims, it is the day in respect of which the payment is due.
8 March 2012
The permitted period of unpaid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a
child has been increased by an EU Directive from 3 months to 4 months. This has
to be implemented by the UK by 8 March 2012. Currently the entitlement is 13
weeks (in addition to statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave).
6 April 2012
On 3 October 2011 a Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) press
release confirmed that the unfair dismissal qualifying period will increase from one
to two years with effect from 6 April 2012.
We are currently awaiting details as to how these proposals will be implemented
and whether or not 'transitional provisions' will be introduced to cover Employees
with more than one but less than two years' service.
6 April 2012 The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) increases from £81.60 to £85.82.
The standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases
from £128.73 to £135.45 per week
The lower earnings limit for qualifying for SSP, SMP, OSPP, ASPP and SAP
increases from £102.00 to £107.00 per week.
October 2012 Pension reforms will require employers to automatically enrol eligible employees
onwards into a workplace pension scheme and to provide a minimum contribution.
April 2013 The Government has recently announced proposed reforms to the tribunal system
Requiring the Claimant to make a payment of £250 in order to lodge
Payment by the Claimant of a further £1,000 before the final hearing of a
Extending the length of service required to claim unfair dismissal to two
In the event that the Claimant loses his/her claim, the fees paid to the Tribunal
listed above will be forfeit. It is not, however, clear whether such fees will be paid
to the Respondent, or if the Tribunal will retain the fees.
It is anticipated that these changes will come into effect from April 2013.