What employers and employees need to be aware of in 2013

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What employers and employees need to be aware of in 2013

Following a bumper crop of proposals from the Coalition Government in 2012, this year will see a raft of new legislation coming into force related to employment tribunals, family-friendly rights and employee-shareholder contracts to name just a few.

Read our guide summarising some of the key updates that both employers and employees should be aware of in 2013.

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

Business Secretary Vince Cable and his team at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have been very much at the forefront of this wide-ranging piece of legislation and will finally see many of its’ elements realised in 2013. Reforms to the employment tribunal system, protected conversations with employees in relation to settlement agreements and changes to limits on compensation for unfair dismissal will all come into force.

Employee-Shareholders

A favourite of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Government is pushing ahead (even though most business and HR leaders feel it is relatively pointless) with a new type of employment contract which will allow employees to be given shares (and become minority shareholders) in their  employer’s company in return for the waiving of some employment rights. This forms part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which will be introduced in 2013.

Compensatory Awards for Unfair Dismissal

From 1 February 2013 the annual increase in maximum compensation from an employment tribunal in respect of unfair dismissal rises from £72,300 to £74,200. However as we have reported previously the Government is currently considering plans to drastically reduce the maximum award for unfair dismissal, and the consultation period on this has now ended.

Redundancy Consultation Period

From 6 April 2013 the 90-day consultation period where 100 or more redundancies is proposed by a company is reduced by half to 45 days, thus making the process quicker and more efficient, and again another measure designed to stimulate growth. If an employer needs to make a lot of redundancies in order to survive then they can do so far quicker, and equally an employee can move on sooner rather than being stuck in consultation limbo for 3 months.

Employment Tribunal Fees

As expected the Government will be looking to offset the cost of the employment tribunal system by charging a fee to claimants who wish to bring a complaint against an ex-employer. The claimant will be required to pay an initial fee to issue a claim, and a further, higher fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing at an employment tribunal, with two levels of fee proposed for differing complexities of claim.

Parental Leave

The right to take unpaid parental leave increases to 18 weeks from 13 weeks from 8 March 2013.

That’s not all folks…

There remain a number of employment law matters which have not yet been finalised or consulted on, which are likely to take effect or at the very least be progressed in 2013 but with no expected date as yet. These include further detail on the flexible working changes, the use of settlement agreements (formerly compromise agreements), consultation on military reservists and proposals to amend TUPE.

As always, Do I Have A Case will keep you posted of these and other developments throughout 2013.

If you have any employment issue you would like to discuss in confidence – either as an employer or employee – please give us a call for free on 0800 014 8727 and speak to our friendly, experience legal team.