The most important changes in Employment Law you should know about…

On 25th April 2013 two new employment laws came in to effect, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA 2013) and the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, both leaving ripples throughout the recruitment world, for employers and employees alike.

Fusion People, as an industry leader in recruitment, have provided a round-up of the new laws and their implications.

 

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

  • Previously an individual was required to be employed for two years or more before a claim for unfair dismissal could be placed. With the new act in place, if an employee is unfairly dismissed for their political opinion or association they are now able to claim unfair dismissal.
  • On 29th July 2013, new Regulations will cover the rules of Employment Tribunals. The new rules are hopefully going to simplify the process of employment tribunals by allowing weak cases to be ‘struck out’ and introducing preliminary hearings (rather than two hearings), thus speeding up the process. The most significant change to the tribunal process is the introduction of fees, since introduction in 1964 the process had been free, however now both claimants and employers have to pay for a claim to appear in tribunal court. The costs amount to £1,100 (each) for 1 day.
  • Unfair dismissal claims are no longer capped at £20,000 however the Government will have power to limit the amount of compensation rewarded in an unfair dismissal case. The reward will either be capped at the statutory limit of £74,200 or a year’s pay.
  • From July 2013, ‘pre-termination’ or ‘protected’ conversations will be introduced. The aim of protected conversations is so ‘a boss and an employee could feel able to sit down together and have a frank conversation at either’s request.’ as put by the Prime Minister. The hope was that ‘pre-termination’ talks could take place without the employer being subjected to risk of the conversation being used against them in any tribunal, within reason of course, all employment law being followed.
  • Changes to the ‘Whistleblowing’ policy now mean that the discloser of the information is no longer protected by the Whistleblowing Act unless it is in the public interest. The information provided is also no longer required to be in ‘good faith’.
  • The CRB check (now referred to as ‘DBS check’) has been updated so that once an individual is registered with the CRB check service their status will be available for employers to see online, so there will be no need for candidates to reapply.
  • The terms under which an employer must give notice for collective redundancy has been reduced from 90 days down to 45 days before the dismissal date (this for 100 or more employees.)
  • The rate of weekly statutory sick pay has increased from £85.85 to £86.70 and statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay has increased from £135.45 per week to £136.78.

 

These are but a few of the reforms from the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, chosen as they are likely to have the most impact on the current working practices of employers and the day-to-day terms of employees.

‘The Government’s objectives were to remove what is believed were barriers to recruitment, to increase productivity and to streamline the employment tribunal system.’ – www.onrec.com

Author bio: Fusion People are global recruitment specialists. 

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