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April employment law changes

View profile for Phil Cookson
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It is usual for April to be the start date for changes in employment law and this year is no different. Below is a brief summary of the changes coming in to force in April 2014.

Statutory Sick Pay

From 6 April, the rate of Statutory Sick Pay increases from £86.70 per week to £87.55 per week. In addition from 6 April 2014 employers will no longer be able to reclaim part of the statutory sick pay paid to employees, though transitional arrangements are in place for sick days paid before 6 April.

Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay.

The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £136.78 to £138.18 per week (pw), with the earnings threshold for all three increasing from £109.00 to £111.00 pw. The standard maternity allowance rate (for those not qualifying for statutory maternity pay) will increase from £136.78 to £138.18 pw, but the earnings threshold remains at £30 pw.

Compensatory award for unfair dismissal

From 6 April 2014 The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £74,200 to £76,574. (NB: the limit will be the lower of either £76,574 or the claimant's annual 52 weeks' salary)

The limit on a week's pay (for the purpose of calculating a redundancy payment or for various awards, including the basic or additional award of compensation for unfair Dismissal) will rise from £450 to £464.

Financial penalties for employers

If an employer breaches workers' rights the tribunal will have the power to order employers to pay a financial penalty. This penalty could be between £100 and £5,000 if there have been 'aggravated features.' It is expected that the award will be about 50% of the amount of any award the tribunal has made against the employer. This measure comes in on 6th April.

Early conciliation

The early conciliation process start on April 6th. Under the scheme there is a new statutory requirement for claimants seeking to bring a tribunal claim to first contact ACAS to see whether an attempt at conciliation can be made. If ACAS decide an settlement is not achievable it will issue a certificate which will allow the claimant to carry on and issue tribunal proceedings.

Discrimination questionnaire repealed

The provision that enabled an individual to obtain information from employers about discrimination, with the objective of using that evidence at a tribunal no longer applies after 6th April 2014.