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2014 Employment Law Calendar

Many changes have been confirmed for 2014 and there are many proposals being put forward to the Government for 2014 and beyond. Simple HR’s Employment Calendar allows you to see at a glance changes that may affect your business:

31st January 2014

Changes are being made to the TUPE regulations (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/246)  These changes are being made as it is felt the current regulations are overly bureaucratic. The changes include: enabling renegotiation of terms derived from collective agreements one year after the transfer provided that the overall the change is no less favourable to the employee; provision for a static approach to the transfer of terms derived from collective agreements; and providing for changes in the location of the workforce following a transfer to be within the scope of economic, technical or organisational reasons entailing changes in the workforce.

31st March 2014

Extension of the Small Business Regulation Freeze  

Currently businesses with less than 10 employees are exempt from the burden of new regulations, this has now been extended to businesses with fewer than 50 employees. New proposals will be reviewed and if they are considered to cause an unnecessary drain on the smaller employer they will not be introduced until the burden is eased or the exemption granted.

1st April 2014

 Introduction of the Employment Allowance

All businesses including charities will be entitled to receive an employment allowance of £2,000 pa towards their employer NI contributions bill, per the 2013 Budget.

Amendment to Automatic Enrolment Regulations 2013

The regulations will extend the time period available to employers for auto-enrolling eligible job holders into a qualifying pension scheme from one month to six weeks. These changes will also include an extension to the deadlines for providing information to the Pensions Regulator.

6th April 2014

Flexible Working

28.01.14 Important Update – this bill has now been delayed. We will update as soon as we have more information. The right to flexible working will be extended to all employees as part of the amendments to the Children and Families Bill. A statutory code of practice will be introduced to give guidance to employers on what is considered a “reasonable manner” of considering requests for flexible working.

Income Tax Personal Allowance Increase

 Income Tax personal allowance will be increased to £10,000 per the 2013 Budget. The basic rate limit for income tax increases from £32,010 to £31,865 and the national insurance contribution threshold increases from £109 per week to £111 per week.

Amendment to The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

Section 138 of the Equality Act 2010 will be revoked. This is the procedure that allows an individual to obtain information from their employer about discrimination and then provides this information as evidence in tribunal proceedings.

Also, where the Act requires potential claimants to lodge details of their proposed employment tribunal claim with Acas in the first instance, Acas will now offer the parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation with a conciliation officer for a prescribed period. Where the conciliation officer concludes that a settlement is not possible, or where the prescribed period ends without reaching a settlement, the claimant will be issued with a certificate permitting him or her to issue proceedings.

Statutory Pay Rates

Proposed rates for 2014 to 2015 – statutory maternity pay, ordinary and addition statutory paternity pay and statutory adoption pay increases from £136.78 to £138.18 per week. Statutory sick pay will increase from £86.70 to £87.55 per week.

The basic state pension rates for 2014 to 2015 will increase from £110.15 per week to £113.10 per week.

Spring 2014 (no definite dates as yet)

Managing Sickness Absence

A new advisory service will be introduced in Spring 2014, offering free occupation health assistance to not only employers but employees and GP’s. This will include an independent assessment for employees who are off sick for more than four weeks. Record keeping of sick pay and the percentage threshold scheme, that provides compensation to employers with high levels of sickness absence, will be abolished.

Financial Penalties for Breach of Employment Rights

Tribunals will now have the power to impose a financial penalty against employers found to be in breach of employment rights where the breach has one or more aggravating features as part of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. If the tribunal awards compensation the penalty will be 50% of the award. The penalty will be a minimum of £100 with a cap of £5,000. Employers can receive a 50% reduction if they pay within 21 days.

Reserve Forces Regulations 2005

These regulations will be amended to ensure that the financial limits and types of costs that are open for claim, including training of replacement staff, are appropriate and that the administrative arrangements are streamlined. The Government also plan to introduce legislation that allows the Secretary of State to make a payment of £500 per reservist per month when mobilised to small and medium sized businesses.

October 2014

 Equal Pay Provisions

 The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 stipulates that if an employer is found to have breached the equal pay provisions, under The Equality Act 2010, the employment tribunal are required to order an equal pay audit.

National Minimum Wage

This is likely to be increased due to prevailing economic conditions.

There are several regulatory changes still to be confirmed for 2014:

The Government proposes to reduce the period of time that offenders are required to declare their conviction to a prospective employer. However, the rehabilitation period will start from the date the offender completes their sentence rather than from the date of conviction.

Proposed changes to employment tribunal claims may include the introduction of “legal officers” who may determine the claim if all parties consent in writing. This is part of the Governments introduction of a rapid resolution scheme, to reduce the time and cost of resolving employment disputes.

In the Budget 2013 the chancellor announced that employers can now lend £10,000 to their employees on a tax-free basis, an increase of 100%.

Deregulation Bill will come into force, date yet to be confirmed. This will remove the power of employment tribunals to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases from the Equality Act 2010. It will also exempt self employed people, whose work activities pose no potential risk of harm to others, from health and safety law.

Employees are to be exempt from the two-year qualifying period for making unfair dismissal claims where the reason or principal reason for dismissal is the employee’s reservist service.

The definition of race, under the Equality Act 2010, will be amended to include Caste.

The upper age limit for people to sit as jurors in England and Wales will be increased from 70 to 75.

Already changes are announced for introduction in 2015 and beyond…

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that employer national insurance contributions for workers aged under 21 who earn up to £42,285 are abolished from April 2015.

In England the Education and Skills Act 2008 changes the statutory framework placing a duty on all young people in England to participate in education or training until the age of 18.

The Childrens and Familiies Bill changes:

Extension to parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18. Currently this only applies to parents of a child with a disability.

Fathers will be entitled to take time of work to attend two antenatal appointments with the mother. It will also allow adoptive parents to take time off “for the purpose of having contact with the child or for any other purpose connected with the adoption”. There will also be a provision for agency workers to attend antenatal and adoption appointments.

Parents who have a child through a surrogacy arrangement can take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay, if they meet the required criteria. Both parents are also entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.

Shared parental leave will be introduced to give parents  more flexibility when they take their maternity/paternity leave. Provided they meet the criteria, mothers can commit to ending their maternity leave and pay and share the untaken balance of leave and pay with their partner. Both parents will be able to take leave together; they will also be able to take time off in blocks rather than all at once, as long as their employer agrees.

The government are also introducing a tax free childcare scheme. If both parents work and each parent earns less than £150,000 pa they are eligible to receive 20% of their yearly childcare costs (capped at £1,200 per child). This applies to parents with children aged under five but will be extended to parents of children under the age of twelve.

Pension Changes to be introduced

In 2016, the Chancellor will introduce the single-tier state pension, this will end the ability to contract out of the state second pension.

In November 2018, The Pensions Act 2011 will equalise the state pension age for women, with an expedited increase from April 20146.

State Pension Age Rises (this is to reflect the ageing nature of the population):

2020 the state pension age will rise from 65 to 66

2026-2028 the state pension age will rise from 66 to 67

2044-2046 the state pension age will rise from 67 to 68