Employment Law Changes for 2014
JANUARY 2014 - Changes to TUPE Regulations 2006
Following a recent Government consultation on proposed changes to TUPE. The following proposed changes are due to come into effect in January 2014.
- The proposed repeal of Regulation 3(1)(b) and ‘service provision change’ has been abandoned after the Government listened to Employers who were concerned that any repeal would create great uncertainty and create redundancy liabilities for existing employers and contractors.
- The proposed repeal of employee liability information (Regulations 10 and 11) has also been abandoned however employee liability information must be provided with 28 days of the transfer as opposed to the current 14 day requirement.
- Allowing TUPE consultations involving more than 20 redundancies to also satisfy the requirements for consultation on collective redundancies where the two can run parallel.
- Allowing micro-businesses with ten or less employees to inform and consult directly with employees as opposed to employee representatives.
- Amendments to ‘entailing changes in the workforce’ definition so that TUPE dismissals involving a change in the place of work will now not be automatically unfair.
APRIL 2014 - Early ACAS conciliation comes into effect
It is anticipated that mandatory early ACAS conciliation will come into force in April 2014. This means that all Claimants will need to notify ACAS before a claim can be issued in the Employment Tribunal. ACAS will then attempt conciliation for up to one calendar month which may be extended by two weeks if there is a reasonable chance of achieving a settlement.
SPRING 2014 - Further amendments to the Equality Act 2010
The Government intends to promote greater business freedom and to remove some of the red-tape that it perceives is strangling many employers. Accordingly the Government intends to introduce the following measures.
- Removal of the Questionnaire procedure that currently enables a Claimant who has issued a discrimination claim to gather information from the employer which can be used as evidence at the full merits hearing.
- Give powers to Employment Tribunals to order an employer to conduct an equal pay audit in circumstances where it is clear that it has breached the equal pay provision as set out in the Equality Act 2010.
AT SOME POINT DURING 2014 - Flexible Parental Leave
These provisions are designed to enable parents to choose how they will share the care of their child during the first year after the birth. Mothers can still keep their entitlement to 52 weeks maternity leave and 39 weeks statutory maternity pay. The difference however is that after the first two compulsory weeks of maternity leave, mothers can share the remaining 50 weeks’ maternity leave and 37 weeks’ statutory maternity pay with the father as flexible parental leave. The husband, civil partner or partner of a pregnant woman will also have the right to unpaid time off to attend up to two ante-natal appointments. These provisions will also apply to adoptive parents. These provisions are due to be implemented in 2014 but may not come into effect until 2015.
BY THE END OF 2014 - Auto-enrolment pensions
More and more employers will be affected by the auto-enrolment provisions that came into effect in October 2012. Employers with between 350 and 499 employees will be expected to comply and offer a qualifying pension scheme to their staff by the start of 2014. Employers with 58 or more employees will be affected by the start of 2015.