|EMPLOYMENT HELP FOR THE VERY BUSY
Welcome to my first e-newsletter of 2014.
Another year of more legislation, but I’ll be working hard behind the scenes to digest, interpret and translate what is most relevant to you and your business, to save you precious time and energy!
TUPE Consultation (31st January 2014)
There are several changes likely to impact the way businesses restructure operations relating to their duties under TUPE obligations (Transfer of Undertakings – Protection of Employment). The government’s final measures will include the following:
- “employee liability information” will need to be provided by a transferor 28 days prior to transfer, rather than 14 days beforehand as previously required
- any terms and conditions negotiated under collective agreements may be re-negotiated from one year post transfer, provided the changes are no less favourable overall for employees
- a change of workplace location following a transfer will be included within an “ETO” reason, meaning employers can make redundancies caused by the relocation without becoming liable for automatically unfair dismissals.
Kay’s comment: As mentioned in previous newsletters, TUPE is a complicated area of employment, so don’t struggle in silence, please do let me know if you have any specific queries regarding the changes by calling me on: 01952 246612. ACAS will also be producing their updated guidance on the TUPE changes later this month.
Reduction in Red Tape for More Small Businesses (31st March 2014)
Also known as ‘the red tape freeze’, this has applied to businesses employing less than 10 people allowing them to be exempt from new regulations, unless they are deemed essential and justified. First introduced in the 2011 Budget, the government has now agreed to extend ‘the freeze’ this year to businesses with less than 50 employees.
Kay’s comment: This seems like good news for many more small businesses, but is not as straightforward as it sounds – in reality, I think many of the up and coming employment regulations will still apply to small businesses, only with more generous timeframes for implementation and compliance. This is one area where I would really like to be proved wrong … watch this space!
Statutory Rate Changes (6th April 2014)
Statutory Sick Pay will increase from £86.70 to £87.55 per week.
Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay increases from £136.78 to £138.18 per week.
Employment Tribunal Reforms – Early Conciliation (6th April 2014)
From April all tribunal claims will be subject to a mandatory period (provisionally set at one month) during which ACAS will attempt conciliation between the parties. During this period, the time limit for bringing the claim (generally three months) will effectively be suspended. Claimants will only be able to continue with their claim once ACAS has issued a certificate saying that a settlement is unlikely at this stage.
Kay’s comment: I am hopeful that this will provide a more constructive forum for smaller employers in situations where internal communications and procedures have broken down. Businesses will still need to keep comprehensive notes and relevant documents in case conciliation is unsuccessful and a claim then proceeds to tribunal.
Flexible Working (6th April 2014)
The right to request flexible working will be extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ service and the current statutory procedure for considering requests will be removed. Instead employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner, but employers will retain the right to refuse requests on business grounds.
Kay’s comment: I think this is a much fairer and more inclusive approach that takes into consideration the wide variety of personal circumstances and caring roles that employees have to manage. ACAS are developing a new Code of Practice and non-statutory guidance for employers. I hope to include relevant links in my next Newsletter.
National Insurance Contributions – Employment Allowance (6th April 2014)
Under the National Insurance Contributions Bill, an employment allowance will be introduced entitling every business and charity to a £2,000 reduction in employer national insurance contributions (NICs) bills each year.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Further information is available via the government’s Infographic:http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmtreasury/10265745306/
Health and Work Assessment and Advisory Service (Late 2014)
The new health and work assessment and advisory service is set to be introduced later this year, offering state funded occupational health assistance for employees, employers and GPs. The service will be able to provide employers with an occupational health assessment after four weeks of sickness absence.
Kay’s comment: Specific details are still awaited, but it is to be run by an external provider with a remit to provide wider access to occupational health advice and will be supported by online resources.
Flexible Parental Leave (TBA 2015)
Under this new system parents will be able to choose how they share the care of their child during the first year after birth. Mothers will still need to take a minimum of two weeks following the birth, after that they can choose to end the maternity leave and the parents can opt to share the remaining leave as flexible parental leave. Also under this new shared parental leave it is proposed to allow the husband, civil partner or partner of the pregnant woman the right to unpaid time off to attend up to two ante-natal appointments.
Kay’s comment:There are already concerns regarding the administration of sharing 50 weeks’ leave between partners, which do not have to be taken in one continuous block. The TUC has also raised concerns that there is no provision for working grandparents to be included, despite their important role in childcare provision. Some changes are likely to be made before its 2015 implementation.
Zero Hour Contracts (TBA 2015)
Despite a lot of recent negative press coverage, Zero Hour Contracts are not going to be banned, but the government has just launched a consultation focusing on the use of exclusivity clauses and transparency, which will probably result in clearer guidance and applicability in the future.
Parental Leave – Age Extension (TBA 2015)
The right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18 years.
Caste Discrimination (TBA 2015)
Although caste was expected to be included as an aspect of race this year, with an amendment to the Equality Act 2010, further consultation is now expected throughout 2014, to address the sensitivities and complexities of the issue.
Please do make sure that you carry out plenty of research and planning this year to find the right pension provision for you and your people. The CIPD and KPMG are providing a number of online resources to help businesses and I would recommend you start by visiting the CIPD website which gives access to articles and useful checklists:http://www.cipd.co.uk/hr-resources/kpmg/
Thank you for all your kind feedback regarding the latest KHHR Video – if you haven’t had a chance to see it, here is the link:https://www.kayhealdhr.co.uk/despicable-me-employable-me-the-7-traits-of-perfect-minions/ – it uses the ‘minion’ characters from the Despicable Me films to illustrate 7 important traits that your employees should possess!
Please Note: The information contained in this e-newsletter is provided for your general use only. It should not be treated as a substitute for obtaining professional employment advice on specific issues.