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New Proposals could give Small Businesses greater scope to dismiss employees
Unfair dismissal laws regulate the way employers can lawfully terminate a person's employment. These laws include allowing employers to terminate someone for misconduct, not performing to the required standard or because there is no longer enough work.
The Government is consulting on compensated no-fault dismissal for micro-businesses with fewer than ten employees. Under such a system, a business would be able to dismiss a worker where no fault had been identified on the part of the employee, with the payment of a set amount of compensation. The Law Society is submitting a consultation response.
Employment Changes for 2012
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Employment Law Changes – 2013
Parental Leave Increase
This will increase from 13 to 18 weeks in March 2013 in order to comply with the revised Parental Leave Directive (EC). This remains an unpaid entitlement.
Reduction in Collective Consultation Period
From 6 April 2013 the requirement to consult with the workforce for a minimum period of 90 days (where an employer is proposing to make 100 or more employees redundant) will be reduced to 45 days. The minimum period where an employer is proposing to dismiss 20 to 99 employees remains the same, at 30 days.
Increase in Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Sick Pay
From 6 April 2013:
- Statutory maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay will increase from £135.45 to £136.78 per week.
- Statutory sick pay is due to increase from £85.85 to £86.70 per week.
Changes to Whistleblowing Legislation
Also in May 2013 the availability of whistleblowing protection will become more limited. A ‘disclosure’ will no longer be protected unless the employee reasonably believes that the disclosure is in the public interest. This would prevent employees from relying on whistleblowing protection in relation to a breach of their own contracts of employment.
Fees for Tribunal Claims Introduced
In July/August 2013 Claimants who issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal will be required to pay a fee. The current proposal is that there will be an initial fee when the Claimant issues the claim and a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing. The level of fee will depend on the complexity of the claim. However, many individuals on low incomes may not be required to pay the full fees – under a remission system similar to that available in the civil courts' services which exempts those on income support.
Amendment to Cap for Unfair Dismissal
Another change that is due to take place in the Summer of 2013 is the amendment to the cap for compensation in unfair dismissal claims, currently £74,200. Under the new rules, compensation awards will be restricted to an overall cap of 12 months’ wages. Employees earning above the cap will however remain subject to the upper limit of £74,200.