Welcome to my latest e-newsletter.It has been an interesting few months with regard to changing legislative timetables and implementation dates. The following information will help keep you up-to-date with the latest agreed changes and give an indication of when future changes are likely to happen. If you would like an ‘easy-to-print-out’ version of this e-newsletter, just drop me a quick email via: kay@kayhealdhr.co.ukStatutory Rate Changes – 6th April 2013
Statutory Sick Pay has increased from £85.85 to £86.70 per week.
Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay has increased from £135.45 to £136.78per week.Parental leave
Unpaid parental leave has increased from 13 to 18 weeks, in line with EU directives. Employees who are parents of a child can take up to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave during the first five years of a child’s life.  Adoptive parents can take their parental leave up to the fifth anniversary of the adoption or by the child’s 18th birthday, whichever occurs sooner.

Kay’s comment: Unpaid parental leave will continue to be limited to a maximum of four weeks per year.

Tribunal Fees
A two tier system of fees is still planned to be introduced this July. The claimant will pay the initial fee to issue a claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing.

Kay’s comment: The tribunal may order the fees to be repaid to the claimant if he or she is successful with his or her claim. Fees will also be payable for appeals submitted to Employment Appeal Tribunals.

Settlement Agreements
Settlement Agreements will be legally binding contracts which can be used to end the employment relationship on agreed terms. ACAS have launched a consultation on a new Code of Practice on Settlement Agreements to work with the new legislation that the Government plans to introduce in the summer.

Settlement Agreements will enable employers and employees to initiate a conversation and make a settlement offer if they feel the employment relationship is not working, without that conversation being admissible as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim (it will still be admissible in other claims such as for discrimination).

Kay’s comment: The ACAS Code is intended to work alongside the new legislation and help everyone in the workplace understand how Settlement Agreements should be used and what constitutes improper behaviour – I hope they will help make the new arrangements easier to implement, whilst providing a fair process.

Portable DBS Checks
Portable DBS Checks are still on schedule for implementation this summer. Once a Disclosure and Barring Service check (previously Criminal Records Bureau check) has been conducted, the results will be available online to enable employers to confirm that no new information has been added since the check was originally made.

Kay’s comment: This means that an employee will no longer have to obtain a new check every time they start a new job. This will hopefully save a lot of time and effort, assuming the online service works efficiently and effectively.

Employee ownership
The proposed employee shareholder scheme was not launched this April, but has been postponed to until at least September 2013.  An additional tax free incentive has been added to the scheme, applied to the first £2000 shares issued.

Kay’s comment: It will be interesting to see if this scheme does actually go ahead this year, as it still remains unpopular in many business circles, with employers feeling it will expose them to tax complications and additional costs. It will not actually change the status of employees to employee-owners and is essentially a re-packaged employee share ownership scheme.

Employment Allowance for Small and Medium Employers
The 2013 budget announced that small and medium sized employers (along with charities and community sports clubs) will be able to receive up to £2,000 off their NICs – they could either take on someone with a salary of £22,000 or have 4 people on the minimum wage, to benefit from this tax concession, which is due to be implemented next April 2014.

Tax Free Childcare for Working Families
The Government has announced a future tax break for working families. Many employed parents will become eligible for 20% off the first £6,000 of childcare costs per child, but they will have to wait until at least 2015 before this becomes available.

Kay’s comment:The proposed scheme will cover children up to five years old, but will also build up over time to include under-12s. Unlike the current childcare voucher scheme, which only operates where employers support it, the new scheme would be paid per child, instead of per household.

FREE Guides from ACAS – Six Steps to Success
ACAS have just produced a set of 6 on-line guides for small and medium sized businesses. They are designed to be simple to use and are aimed at helping employers understand the basics of recruitment, settling in new employees, contracts, managing complaints at work, staff absence and how to get the best from people.

Kay’s comment: I think they could be a useful resource for those contemplating taking on employees for the first time, but I do not think ACAS has taken into consideration the time and resource constraints faced by most small businesses, which necessitate the use of compromises and ‘best-fit’ solutions in many situations.

Additional Information

NEW ARTICLE: Sweet, Sour and Savoury Interview Questions: an interesting look at the best and worst interview questions.

RECENT VIDEO: Les’ Mistakes – Lessons in Good People Management: Our first charity video, with a distinct Les Miserables flavour, helped us raise £165 for Shrewsbury Ark (a very worthwhile local charity helping vulnerable and homeless people in and around Shrewsbury). Thank you for all your support.

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.



My mailing address is: kay@kayhealdhr.co.ukCopyright (C) 2013 Kay Heald HR All rights reserved.
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