What does 2013 have in store for UK Employment Law?

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The government’s Fifth Statement of New Regulation was published on 17th December 2012. It records the government’s progress in reducing the regulatory burdens on business by cutting the “red tape” and sets out the dates on which the government intends to bring into force some key employment legislation in 2013.

It is predicted that by July 2013 the total savings for businesses from this reduction in red tape will be £919 million.

The key intended dates for change include the following:-

February 2013

  • Employment tribunal award limits will rise. For instance, the limit on the amount of a week’s pay will increase from £430 to £450 and the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal goes up from £72,300 to £74,200.

March 2013

  • Increase in parental leave from 13 to 18 working weeks for each parent in respect of each child.
  • Removal of employer liability for harassment of employees by third parties.
  • Abolishment of discrimination questionnaires.

April 2013

  • A reduction in the redundancy consultation period for redundancies involving 100 or more employees from the current 90 days to 45 days.
  • New Employment Tribunals rules of procedure.
  • Amendments to whistle-blowing so that workers cannot bring a whistle-blowing case relating to a breach of their own contract that is not in the public interest.
  • Proposed amendments to the company law provisions on the buy back of shares to simplify the process, including for the purposes of employees’ share schemes.

Summer 2013

  • The Ministry of Justice have announced their intention to introduce employment tribunal fees in the summer of 2013. Final tribunal fee proposals include: an issue fee of £160 or £250, depending on claim; similarly, a hearing fee of £230 or £950; and an Employment Appeal Tribunal issue fee of £400 and £1200 hearing fee.
  • Tribunals will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse fees paid by the successful party.
  • A fee remission system will operate for those who meet the criteria if they cannot afford to pay.

Finally, it should be noted that other proposals for change are also in the pipeline and I will provide a further update in due course.

Written by Edward Aston 10th January 2013