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All Change

As we head towards summer it’s a time to reflect on all the changes currently taking place in the world of work and Employment law.

It’s only when you consider the list below that you realise quite how much change is happening and the way the Government have certainly moved in the direction they promised. We might not all agree with the changes but changes there have been. Having at least an awareness of the changes is important for both Employers and employees, including self employed.

  • Ironically very little happened in the budget, the £1500 age apprentice grant is going to continue to run. Apprenticeships will be increased by 100,000 to encourage youth employment. The annual investment allowance is also being increased to £500,000 until at least the end of 2015.
  • And there were the changes around personal allowances and National insurance for under 21s but that about all.
  • The benefits rates all change on 6th April eg Maternity Pay rose to £138.16 Statutory sick pay rose to £87.55
  • The Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which allows employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in certain circumstances, is abolished from 6 April 2014.The government has announced that the current PTS funding will be moved into a new scheme to help employees who have been incapacitated for four weeks or more get back to work as part of the government's Health Work and Wellbeing Initiative.
  • The new rates for the minimum wage in October 2014 were announced, the adult rate increasing from £6.31 to £6.50, the other increases were18/21 yr olds £5.03 to £5.1316/17 yr olds £3.72 to £3.79 ,Apprentice rate £2.68 to £2.73
  • From the end of June ALL employees with 26 weeks service will have a legal right to ask their employer for flexible hours.
  • From October 2014 dads can claim paid leave to attend 2 ante natal appointments with their partner.
  • More radically the proposals for shared parental leave have been announced. From April 2015 it is proposed that that mothers and fathers will be able to share parental leave for up to a year and even be off at the same time.
  • The existing maternity leave and ordinary paternity leave systems will remain, but mothers will be able to replace their maternity leave (other than the compulsory maternity leave period ie 2 weeks) with a new system of shared parental leave. This will be shared between the mother and the father/mother's partner. So there will be 37 weeks of paid leave to use. Of course if you are self employed these regulations will not apply to you!
  • The first set of statistics showing the impact of the requirement that employees pay a fee to take their claim to Employment Tribunal (introduced in July 2013) have been released. The change in the law seems to have dramatic results. In the period October to December 2013, 9,801 employment tribunal claims were received. This was 79% fewer than in the same period in 2012, and 75% fewer than in the previous quarter.
  • In May there is another major change. Before even submitting a case to Tribunal employees will have to contact ACAS. Acas will then contact the employee or their representative to gather basic information on the dispute The case will then be passed to a conciliator who will talk through the issues to see if a solution can be found. There is a fixed period of time for this conciliation process. This might well end up in more claims being settled “out of court”. It might be a further deterrent to employees taking cases but it will certainly further reduce the number of cases reaching Tribunal which is good news.

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