SUMMARY: A number of statutory changes come into force on April 6 2014 which employers should be aware of. A summary of the key changes is set out below.
Mandatory Pre-Claim ACAS Conciliation
A duty on the parties and ACAS to attempt pre-claim conciliation will be introduced, involving a four-stage procedure for early conciliation, which must be attempted before a claim can be pursued. This will be operational from 6 April 2014 and mandatory from 6 May 2014.
Statutory discrimination questionnaires will be abolished. Acas has published good practice guidance on how employers should deal with questions regarding discrimination in the workplace after statutory discrimination questionnaires are abolished: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/m/p/Asking-and-responding-to-questions-of-discrimination-in-the-workplace.pdf
Statutory Sick Pay
The Statutory Sick Pay record-keeping will be abolished in favour of giving employers the discretion to use a system which suits them.
The Percentage Threshold Scheme currently enables employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from HMRC, where the total SSP paid in a month exceeds 13% of their Class 1 National Insurance contributions for that month. This scheme is to be abolished.
Financial penalties for losing employers may be imposed by a tribunal. A tribunal will have the power to order an employer who has lost at tribunal to pay a financial penalty of up to £5,000 to the Secretary of State, where the case has “aggravating features”.
Increased Penalty for employing illegal workers
The maximum civil penalty for illegally employing an immigrant will increase from £10,000 to £20,000. This provides an additional incentive for employers to check that they have the relevant right to work documents recorded on file.
Unfair dismissal compensatory award
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissals where the Effective Date of Termination falls before 6 April 2014 is £74,200. This will be increased to £76,574 (or 52 weeks’ gross pay, if lower) where the Effective Date of Termination falls on or after 6 April 2014.
The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy pay (among other things), is currently £450. This will rise to £464 from 6 April 2014.
Pension protection regime (TUPE)
Transferee employers will have the option to match the transferor’s level of employee pension contributions into a defined contribution scheme, even if they are less than the current minimum of 6%.
This is to avoid the situation where employees could be in a more favourable position than they would have been if they had not transferred.
For more details about these changes please contact:
+44 (0) 1604 871143
This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.