Employment law changes from 6th April 2014

3rd April 2014

The employment team have noted a number of changes in employment law due to take effect from 6th April 2014. These are as follows:

1. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal rises to £76,574 (or 12 months pay, whichever is the lower).

2. The amount of a maximum weeks pay increases to from £450 to £464. This is the figure used to calculate a basic award for unfair dismissal and to calculate statutory redundancy payments.

Comment: Employers making redundancies which take effect after on or after 6 April 2014 will need to take account of the new rate of a "weeks pay" when calculating statutory redundancy payments.

3. An employment allowance will be introduced entitling businesses and charities to a reduction of £2,000 in employer national insurance contribution bills each year. Employers who usually pay less than £2,000 a year won't have to pay any employer National Insurance contributions at all. The government estimates that up to 1.25 million businesses and charities will benefit from Employment Allowance.

4. Early Conciliation will be introduced meaning that, before a claim can be lodged with the Employment Tribunal, employees will be obliged to send details of their dispute to ACAS, who will attempt conciliation and settlement.

5. Provisions in the Equality Act 2010 allowing employees to submit discrimination questionnaires will be repealed. The questionnaires allowed people to ask questions and obtain information from employers ahead of lodging a discrimination claim.

Comment - we would advise that the abolition of the questionnaire procedure is likely to make little difference in practice. That is because Employment Tribunals will still be able to draw inferences of discrimination against an employer who is evasive or fails to respond to an employee's reasonable enquiry.

6. Employment Tribunals will be able to levy a financial penalty of up to a maximum of £5,000 on employers who lose a claim and where there are "aggravating features". That term is not defined and ultimately, this will be for the Employment Tribunal to decide, taking into account any factors which it considers relevant, including the circumstances of the case and the employer's particular circumstances.

7. The maximum civil penalty for employing illegal immigrants rises from £10,000 to £20,000.

8. Statutory Sick Pay:

a. will increase from £86.70 to £87.55 per week.
b. will no longer be capable of being reclaimed by employers from the government.

9. The rates of Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay will all increase from £136.78 to £138.18.  

The employment team now boasts an impressive seven strong team, each specialised within various areas of employment; from recruitment through to terminations, redundancies, sickness & absence, compromise agreements and disciplinary procedures. The acclaimed department strives to keep their clients up to date with the implications involved in new legislation and the ever-changing environment of employment law.

For more details on employment issues, please contact a member of the employment team on 0845 111.


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