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Changes to UK Employment Law in 2010

UK Employment Law is a complex area at the best of times but with regaulr changes being introduced at least twice a year, it often becomes impossible for Employers to keep up to date.

Employers who don’t keep up to date risk falling foul of uk employment law and could end up facing costly employment tribunal action as a result.

Outlined below is a sumary of the main changes to UK Employment Law that Employers will face this year.

Already happened……….

Unfair Dismissal Awards

Where a dismissal occurs on or after 1 February 2010, the overall compensatory award limit will fall from £66,200 to £65,300 and the daily compensatory award limit will fall from £21.50 to £21.20, reflecting a -1.4% change in the Retail Prices Index.

Coming this sping………

Right to request time off for training

From 6 April 2010, the right to request time off for training becomes law for employers with more than 250 or more employees. This will be extended to cover all employers from April 2011. The right is similar to the right to request flexible working in that employers do not have to pay for training and can refuse an employee’s request as long as they can show that it would be detrimental to the business if that member of staff takes time off unpaid.

Fit notes replace sick notes

From 6 April 2010 the government’s new Fit Note Scheme comes into force meaning significant changes for UK Employers and how they manage staff absence going forward. GPs will no longer issue sick notes but will instead issue ‘Fit Notes’ outlining what duties they believe an employee is ‘fit’ to undertake. The new ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ will also detail what support an Employer should provide to help the returning staff member integrate back into the workforce

Changes to Statutory Payments

Next Month (April), the weekly earnings threshold for statutory adoption, maternity, paternity, and sick pay will increase from £95 to £97 and statutory adoption, maternity, and paternity pay and maternity allowance will increase from £123.06 per week to £124.88 per week. (**the rate of statutory sick pay will remain at £79.15 per week.)

Additional Paternity Leave Entitlement

Additional paternity leave will be introduced in April 2010, but it will only apply to parents of babies born on or after 3 April 2011. Currently, employed fathers are entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave and mothers to 52 weeks maternity leave (of which up to 39 weeks are paid). Under the new law, mothers would be able to transfer the final 26 weeks of their maternity leave to the father once the mother has returned to work.

Equal Rights for Agency Workers

If you use agency staff or supply agency workers, then the EU Agency Workers Directive applies to you. Under this directive, agency workers will have the right to the same pay, holidays and basic conditions of employment as permanent staff doing the same kind of work after serving a twelve-week service qualification period. This is due to come into force this spring.

Outlaw Blacklisting of trade union members or activists

Under s.3 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 the government is able to introduce new regulations which strengthen the law to prevent blacklisting.

Draft regulations have been published that:

make it unlawful for to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of them appearing on a blacklist

enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists.

make it unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of appearing on a blacklist

Provided Parliament gives its approval, the regulations could be brought into effect this Spring.

Other planned changes later this year include:

Introducing the Single Equality Act

The Single Equality Act will become law in October. The Act introduces new laws that:

require businesses to report on gender pay

allow businesses to positively discriminate in recruiting and promoting people from under-represented minority groups (as long as they are as well qualified for the job as the other candidates

Registering with the Independent Safeguarding Authority

Starting November 2010, new workers and those moving jobs who want to work with children or vulnerable adults must register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

If you are unsure about how these changes might impact your business and would like some expert employment law advice to ensure you prevent problems and protect your business from costly employment tribunals call us now on 0800 612 4772 or submit your enquiry via our website.

Tags: employment, law, uk

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