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Changes to Employment Legislation – April 2010

Although yesterday will be remembered as the day the Prime Minister announced the date of the next General Election, don’t forget 6 April is also important for all employers. Regular readers will know this date signifies changes to employment legislation.

Do you know what changes were made yesterday?

Fit notes

From 6 April 2010, the existing system of sick notes is replaced by a fit-note system under which GPs can suggest adjustments to an employee’s role and/or workplace to enable them to return to work. Although you are under no obligation to accommodate any suggestion by a GP, you are obliged to review each recommendation and make a proper judgement on each case. Remember, it might be in your interest to get a sick worker back to work doing some duties that suits your business, and also helps your employee maintain the regularity of attending work.

Requests in relation to study or training

Employees now have a legal right to make a request in relation to study or training – for example, time off work to study. The right follows the same process as the flexible working applications. A refusal of a request must be on one or more grounds specified in the legislation. You do not have to pay for the training as it only a request to request time off.

Additional paternity leave

There is now a new right to additional paternity leave allowing fathers to take up to 26 weeks’ paternity leave in the first year of a child’s life. This will, in effect, allow fathers to share maternity leave with the mother, who will be able to return to work after six months, leaving the father to take what is left of the 12 months’ maternity leave.

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay

From 4 April 2010, the standard rates of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay will increase from £123.06 to £124.88. Statutory sick pay will continue at the rate of £79.15 per week.

Data protection

The Information Commissioner has the power to fine organisations up to £500,000 for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998.


The minimum pension age increases from 50 to 55 unless retirement is on the grounds of serious ill health, the member has a protected pension age, or the member started taking benefits before 6 April 2020. The number of years needed to receive a full basic state pension reduces to 30. The state pension retirement age for women born after 6 April 2010 will rise to 65 between 2010 and 2020.

If you need employment law advice, or guidance on how to implement these changes in your workplace, please contact us on 0800 612 4772 or get a Free Quote.

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