Changes to Employment Law from 6th April 2014

Changes to Employment Law from 6th April 2014

The following changes to employment law come into effect on  6th April 2014:

1.       Increases to rates and limits

The following rates and limits have increased:

  • Statutory sick pay has increased from £86.70 to £87.55 a week
  • Statutory maternity pay, paternity pay and adoption pay have increased from  £136.78 to £138.18 a week
  • The limit on the amount of a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating, among other things, statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £450 to £464 a week
  • The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismal goes up from £74,200 to £76,574. Note that since 29th July 2013 there has also been an additional cap of one year’s salary on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal

 2.       Financial penalties for losing employers

The Employment Tribunal now has the power to order that a losing employer pays a financial penalty. The penalty is paid to the Secretary of State, who pays the money into the government’s general bank account in the Bank of England.  This will apply to cases presented on or after 6 April 2104.

 When can a financial penalty be ordered?

  • A penalty may be levied where the employer’s breach has “one or more aggravating features”
  • A penalty may be ordered even if a financial awards has not been made to the claimant
  • An Employment Tribunal cannot review an order to pay a penalty if the Employment Tribunal subsequently awards compensation for failure to comply with an Employment Tribunal recommendation or a reinstatement or re-engagement order

How much will the financial penalty be?

  • The minimum amount of the penalty is £100, the maximum is £5,000
  • If a financial award has been awarded, the financial penalty must be 50% of the amount of the award
  • If the claim was considered together with another claim involving a different worker (but same employer), the maximum amount of the penalty is 50% of the financial award
  • An employer does not have to pay the full penalty if it pays 50% of the penalty within 21 days
  • Employment Tribunals must take account of the employers ability to pay

 3.       Mandatory pre-claim Acas conciliation

The aim of early conciliation is to give the parties the opportunity of settling claims through Acas to avoid Employment Tribunal proceedings.  Therefore before lodging a claim, a prospective claimant must notify Acas that they are intending on bringing a claim and provide contact details of the parties so that there can be a period of conciliation. Acas will then select a conciliation officer to the matter to try and promote settlement between the claimant and their employer. Each party can choose whether or not to  participate. If conciliation fails, Acas will issue a certificate with a unique number. The Employment Tribunal will reject a claim unless it contains that unique number. The limitation clock stops for one month during the period of conciliation, giving the claimant a longer period to lodge a claim.

It is mandatory for those lodging claims on or after 6th May 2014 to have completed the Early Conciliation procedure and obtained the Early Conciliation certificate. Those lodging claims prior to 6th May 2014 will commence the Early Conciliation process if they request conciliation on or after 6th April 2014 and if so, will need to have obtained an Early Conciliation Certificate to lodge the claim.

4.       Increase to employment tribunal fees

The following Type A claims have been reclassified as Type B claims which will attract the higher fees (£250 issue fee and £950 hearing fee for a single claimant):

  • Equal pay
  • Sex equality in pension schemes
  • Failure to inform or consult under TUPE
  • Failure to allow compensatory rest under the Working Time Regulations 1998
  • Breach of the right to request time off for training

If you have any questions in relation to the issue raised in this article or in relation to any other employment matters, please do not hesitate to contact Claire Berry on 01480 442040 or email claire.berry@leedsday.co.uk.


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