Just like previous years, 2014 is due to throw up plenty of new employment laws for us to get our heads around. Here, Peninsula Business Services give us an update on what changes are due to make an appearance, and the dates we should expect them to drop.
Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) Reform
TUPE will be scaled back by new legislation. The definition of service provision change will be tightened, employment liability information will have to be provided to the new practice earlier than it is now, and a change to the work location will count as an acceptable reason to dismiss an employee because of the transfer. Other changes are also planned.
Revision of Financial Assistance for Employers of Reservists
The Government has committed to amending legislation to ensure that, by April 2014, the financial assistance provided to any practices who employ army reserves are ‘appropriate and streamlined’.
Individuals wanting to bring a tribunal claim will have an obligation to inform Acas first, in which case conciliation will be offered. Claims will no longer be made directly to the tribunal. If conciliation proves unsuccessful, the individual can continue with their tribunal claim.
The right to request flexible working will be opened to all employees with 26 weeks’ service, removing the current restriction to those with children under 17 and those with caring responsibilities. The statutory process will also be removed, as will all of the deadlines by which meetings/decisions have to take place. Employers will instead have to consider the request in a ‘reasonable manner’ and within a ‘reasonable time’. Refusal will still be an option for practices, but practice managers may well see an increase in flexible working requests to deal with.
Tribunals will have the power to order practices who lose a claim against them at tribunal to pay a fine to the Exchequer, with a minimum of £100. This will be in addition to the award made to the claimant, and the fee reimbursement.
Amendments to the Equality Act 2010
Statutory questionnaires used in discrimination claims will be removed. These previously allowed claimants to gather information which could be used as evidence.
Unfair Dismissal Compensatory Awards
The annual change to tribunal compensatory awards has been shifted from February to April. In this month we are also likely to see increases to the rate of statutory guarantee pay and the maximum amount that can count towards a week’s pay for redundancy pay purposes.
National Minimum Wage
The minimum rates payable to workers normally increases in October each year. It is possible that in 2014 we will see the ‘Living Wage’ (the non-statutory rate that is deemed to be sufficient to live without poverty) having an influence on what is provided in the Minimum Wage.
Peninsula Business Services are the leading provider of employment law and health and safety services in the UK. They have partnered with Practice Plan to bring comprehensive HR, employment law and health and safety services to dental practices. To read more useful staff management and employment law articles, head over to our Resource Library.