The beginning of April is traditionally the first of two times each year when employment law changes take place. This year is no different and there are a number of changes that all Employer’s should be aware of.
Annual Increase in Statutory Payments
- Sick pay (SSP) from £86.70 to £87.55 a week
- Maternity pay from £136.78 to £138.18 a week
- Paternity pay from £136.78 to £138.18 a week
- Adoption pay from £136.78 to £138.18 a week
Annual Increase in Statutory Compensation Limits
- Maximum Week’s pay (for redundancy pay and basic award compensation for unfair dismissal) increase from £450 to £464
- Statutory Redundancy payment (up to 30 weeks’ pay) from £13,500 to £13,920
- Unfair Dismissal Basic Award (up to 30 weeks’ pay) from £13,500 to £13,920
- Unfair Dismissal compensatory award from £74,200 to £76,574 (or one years’ pay, whichever is lowest)
- Automatic Unfair Dismissal basic award (minimum) from £5,500 to £5676
Introduction of Acas Early Conciliation
Early conciliation is where employees who want to pursue a claim in the Employment Tribunal are required to notify ACAS before lodging the claim with the Tribunal. ACAS will then contact the Employer to see if it will be possible to resolve the claim before it proceeds to the Employment Tribunal. There is no obligation on either employee or Employer to reach a settlement.
This new early conciliation service is available for employees to use from the 6th April 2014, but it does not become mandatory until the 6th May 2014 when most claims will have to go via ACAS first.
Repeal of the Statutory Discrimination Questionnaires
In relation to acts of discrimination occurring on or after 6 April 2014 employees will no longer be able to utilise Discrimination Questionnaires which required Employers to complete certain information and answer questions regarding processes and procedures.
Although the formal questionnaire has been abolished employees can still ask informal questions and the Employment Tribunal can still draw adverse inferences from an Employer’s refusal to respond or from evasive answers.
Introduction of financial penalties for Employers
From the 6th April 2014 Employment Tribunal’s will have the opportunity to order financial penalties against Employers who are found to have breached employment law and the Tribunal considers that the breach had ‘one or more aggravating features’.
Increase in Employment Tribunal Fees
Some claims which previously had the lower ‘Type A’ fee will now fall under ‘Type B’. This means that employees will now have to pay slightly more for certain claims.