To help you prepare for a busy year ahead, we highlight the key employment related legislative changes that are approaching.

01.01.08

To help you prepare for a busy year ahead, we highlight the key employment related legislative changes that are approaching.

February 2008

  • Where the effective date of termination of employment is on or after 1 February 2008, the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £60,600 to £63,000 and the limit on a week's pay for statutory redundancy payment and basic award purposes will increase from £310 to £330.
  • From 29 February 2008 employers who negligently hire illegal workers will face a fine of up to £10,000 for each offence and those who knowingly hire illegal workers risk an unlimited fine and a prison sentence.

6 April 2008

  • The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £112.75 to £117.18 and the standard rate of statutory sick pay will increase from £72.55 to £75.40.
  • The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 will be extended to apply to undertakings with 50 or more employees. Employers may be required to set up information and consultation arrangements (such as national works councils) to consult with their workforce on economic and employment related issues if there is a request from their employees for such arrangements.
  • The obligation to consult before making changes to occupational and personal pension schemes will be extended to cover undertakings with 50 or more employees.
  • The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2007 aim to increase protection for those seeking work and reduce the regulatory burdens faced by employment businesses. The Regulations do not require agency workers to receive the same rate of pay and benefits as permanent workers for like work (an issue debated in Europe at the end of 2007 but which failed due to opposition from, amongst others, the UK).
  • The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 will create a new offence of corporate manslaughter - organisations may be prosecuted for management failures that lead to the death of employees and others.

In the pipeline

  • Pilot schemes looking at alternative forms of dispute resolution will be run in three tribunal regions, in advance of the abolition of the statutory procedures in April 2009. The pilot schemes will be designed to look at the types of conciliation that work best; identify what cases benefit from early conciliation; and examine the resource and staffing implications of offering earlier conciliation.
  • The Government has launched an independent review looking at how far the right to request flexible working should be extended (currently available to parents of children under the age of 6 (or 18 if the child is disabled)). Depending on the duration of the review, the extension will come into force in October 2008 or April 2009.
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill is due to come into force in late 2008 and will introduce a new vetting and barring scheme and provide for a central vetting process for people working with children and vulnerable adults.
  • In May 2007 the Government consulted over the introduction of additional paternity leave and pay, enabling fathers to take up to 26 weeks' leave if the mother returns to work before the end of her maternity leave period. It has also proposed to increase the statutory maternity pay period from 39 to 52 weeks. HM Revenue and Customs has announced that it intends to implement these changes for babies due in April 2010 or later.