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Important Changes to Employment Legislation in 2012
By Adrian Hobbs


Employment legislation has consistently needed constant attention over the years. 2012 will not be different in terms of addressing some of the key legislative developments that will soon crop up.

Here are 6 of the main legislative changes that will occur in 2012:

Legislation Time-Table

1.Statutory redundancy payments and guarantee payments - 1st Feb 2012

2. Maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay increase - 1st April 2012

3. Changes to employment tribunal procedure - 6th April 2012

4. Qualifying time for unfair dismissal increased - - 6th April 2012

5. Pensions auto-enrolment begins - 1st October 2012

Also, look out for:
"Protected conversations"
Revisions to TUPE
Changes to the Equality Act


1. Qualifying period for unfair dismissal protection is increased – from 6 April 2012

From April 2012, the qualifying period for employees to bring an unfair dismissal claim has gone up from 1 year to 2 years. The Government has pointed out that this move has been made in order to: "provide more time for employers and employees to resolve difficulties, give employers greater confidence in taking on people and ease the burden on the employment tribunal process".
 

2. Pensions auto-enrolment begins – from 1 October 2012

Perhaps the greatest legislative challenge (especially for larger employers) may come from implementing the pension’s auto-enrolment. Employers with 50 or more employees have to enrol eligible employees automatically, and make mandatory employer contributions, into a qualifying workplace pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest).


3. Changes to employment tribunal procedure – from 6 April 2012

There are 3 main changes to the employment tribunal procedure:

  • Employment judges will hear unfair dismissal cases alone in the tribunal, unless they direct otherwise.
  • Payment as a condition to continuing with tribunal proceedings will increase from £500 to £1,000.
  • The maximum amount of a costs order, which a tribunal may award in favour of a legally represented party, will increase from £10,000 to £20,000.


4. Statutory redundancy payments and guarantee payments increase – from 1 February 2012.

There are also 3 main changes to statutory redundancy and guarantee payments:

  • The maximum amount of a week's pay used to calculate a statutory redundancy payment and the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal increases from £400 to £430.
  • The maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award increases from £68,400 to £72,300.
  • The limit on the amount of a guarantee payment payable to an employee in respect of any day also increases from £22.20 to £23.50.
     

5. Maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay increase – from 1 April 2012

The standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £128.73 to £135.45 per week from 1 April 2012. Statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week from 6 April 2012.
 

6. Other developments...

There are plans in the legislative pipeline which may affect:

  • “protected conversations”
  • The law of TUPE and collective redundancy consultation and whether it should be amended to reduce the burden on businesses.
  • The Equality Act is also under the microscope as the government contemplates the removal of third-party harassment provisions.

 

Added: 16th January 2012

With over 25 years experience in making businesses more efficient, Adrian Hobbs is a pioneer in lean business modeling, employee development and change management.  Find out more about Adrian's company Flex Recruitment.

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