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Employment E-Bulletin March 2014

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New Rates and Limits

   

Current Rate

 

Rate from effect from 6th April 2014

         

Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay

 

£136.78

 

£138.18

         

Statutory Sick Pay

 

£86.70

 

£87.55

         

Statutory cap on a "Week's Pay"

 

£450

 

£464

         

Maximum Unfair Dismissal Basic Award

 

£13.500

 

£13.920

         

Maximum Unfair Dismissal Compensatory Award

 

£74.200

 

£76.574

 

There is no change to the National Minimum Wage in April 2014 as these increases take effect from October in each year. The Low Pay Commission has published an executive summary of its 2014 report which recommends that the Adult rate of the National Minimum Wage should be increased by 3% to £6.50 per hour (from the current £6.31 per hour) with effect from 1st October 2014.

Pension Auto-Enrolment

A reminder that the staging dates for pension auto-enrolment are now imminent for smaller employers (those with between 50 and 249 employees). It must also be remembered that it will be necessary for employers to update their employment contracts to reflect the new pension arrangements.

All employers (even those with fewer than 50 employees) should also begin to consider the appropriate stance to take with respect to new joiners.

We are considering running a seminar on Pension Auto-Enrolment and its implications from an employer’s perspective. If you would be interested in attending this seminar please contact Rebecca Warwick at Rebecca.Warwick@twmsolicitors.com

Early Conciliation

Further details have been published of the new Acas Early Conciliation regime. Early Conciliation will be available from 6th April 2014 and mandatory for claims presented on or after 6th May 2014.

Other changes include that, as an alternative to completing the Early Conciliation form online or by post, employees will be able to telephone Acas who will fill in the form.

The mandatory required information, the omission of which risks rejection of the Early Conciliation Form, is now limited to the name and address of both the prospective Claimant and Respondent.

Financial Penalties for Employers

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA 2013) will allow employment tribunals the power to order that a losing employer pay a financial penalty in specified circumstances. The penalty will be paid to the Secretary of State, who will pay the money into the Consolidated Fund. It does not benefit the Claimant.

Financial penalties may be applied to claims that are presented on or after 6 April 2014. The minimum penalty will be £100 and the maximum £5,000. The penalty will be reduced by 50% if the employer pays within 21 days.

It is anticipated that employers will not be penalised for genuine mistakes. However, a losing employer may be ordered to pay a financial penalty where the employer’s breach has “one or more aggravating features”. It is not yet clear how the tribunal will determine what amounts to “aggravating features”. The government has suggested that tribunals would impose penalties where “the breach involves unreasonable behaviour, for example where there has been negligence or malice involved.”

Flexible Working

BIS have confirmed that the implementation of the new flexible working regime, originally scheduled for 6th April 2014, will be delayed.

The House of Commons has agreed a revised target date of 21 March 2014 for the Children and Families Bill to receive Royal Assent. It is this Bill that contains the provisions to introduce new rules on the right to request flexible working which will be extended to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous employment. It is expected that the legislation will be implemented by 30th June 2014.

Employing Illegal Workers

A draft order has been laid before Parliament which will increase the maximum civil penalty which may be payable under section 15(2) of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act (2006) where an employer is found to have employed adults who are subject to immigration control but do not have the right to work in the UK.

The draft order increases the maximum penalty from £10,000 to £20,000. If approved by Parliament, it will come into force on 6th April 2014.

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