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Important employment law changes


Here’s a summary of the main expected employment law developments in 2012 together with the likely start dates:

31 January 2012

  • The closure date for calls for evidence on the effectiveness of the TUPE regulations and the scope of the collective redundancy rules – this may result in formal consultation later in the year.

1 February 2012

  • The limits applying to certain employment tribunal awards and to other amounts payable under employment legislation will increase.  For example, the maximum amount of a ‘week’s pay’ (used for calculating an unfair dismissal basic award and statutory redundancy payments) will increase from £400 to £430, the maximum daily amount of statutory guarantee payment will increase from £22.20 to £23.50 and the maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award will increase from £68,400 to £72,300.

6 March 2012

  • The consultation closes on the introduction of fees in employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

6 April 2012

  • The qualifying period for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim will increase from one year to two years.
  • Substantial changes to employment tribunal practice and procedure will take effect.
  • The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) will increase from £81.60 to £85.85.
  • The lower earnings limit for qualifying for SSP, SMP, OSPP, ASPP and SAP will increase from £102.00 to £107.00.

April 2012 (dates to be advised)

  • 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) will increase from £128.73 to £135.45.
  • Unpaid parental leave will increase to four months.

1 October 2012

  • Auto-enrolment into workplace pension schemes will begin for larger employers.
  • The various national minimum wage rates may increase, depending on prevailing economic conditions and the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations.

Developments with no confirmed date yet, but likely to be progressed in 2012

  • Financial penalties to be introduced for employers who lose at employment tribunal and are found to have breached employment rights.
  • Early ACAS conciliation of all employment tribunal claims.
  • Amendment of the whistleblowing rules so that disclosures about breaches of employment contracts are no longer covered.
  • Compromise agreements to be simplified and re-named.
  • Consultation on ‘protected conversations’ between employers and employees about employment issues.
  • Consultation on a proposed new rapid resolution scheme as an alternative to employment tribunal for low-value and straightforward disputes.
  • Consultation on a range of measures to reform the law on employment disputes.
  • ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures to be looked at with a view to a simpler dismissal process.
  • Consultation on the removal of the third party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010.
  • The working time rules are likely to be amended to allow holiday to be carried forward in limited circumstances.