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Employment Law Updates: April 2012

Posted in Employers on Mar 26, 2012 by Richard Hayden

Below are highlighted a number of important Employment Law updates that will come into force in April of 2012;

1 April 2012

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increase

As of the 1st of April 2012 the standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £128.73 to £135.45 per week. Statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week from the 6th April 2012.

 

6 April 2012

Changes to income tax thresholds come into force

The personal allowance for income tax will increase by £630 up-to £8,105. In addition the threshold at which employees pay a higher rate of income tax (40%) will be reduced to £34,371 from £35,001.

 

Contracting out of state additional pension abolished

As of the 6th April 2012 contracting out of the additional State Pension on a defined contribution basis will be abolished by bringing into force the relevant provisions of the 2007 and 2008 Pensions Acts. From this date forward employees will automatically be brought back into the State system and they will start to accrue entitlement to additional State Pension instead. Employers and employees in money purchase/defined contribution occupational schemes will then both pay the standard rate National Insurance contributions instead of the reduced rate.

 

Qualifying period for unfair dismissal increases to two years

On the 6th April the qualifying period for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim will increase from one year to two years. The increase will only apply to employees who start a new job on or after the 6 April 2012.

 

Changes to tribunal procedure come into force

A ‘fundamental review’ as described by the government has proposed changes in Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure. These substantial changes are expected to be introduced from the 6th April and include;

  • Employment judges will hear unfair dismissal cases alone in the tribunal, unless they direct otherwise.

  • The maximum amount of a deposit order, which a tribunal can order a party to pay as a condition to continuing with tribunal proceedings, will increase from £500 to £1,000.

  • The maximum amount of a costs order, which a tribunal may award in favour of a legally represented party, will increase from £10,000 to £20,000.

  • Witness statements are to be taken “as read” unless a tribunal directs otherwise.


 

Increase to lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions comes into force

The allowed lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions increases from £102 to £107.

 

Changes to health and safety reporting requirements come into force

 The Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/3163) are amended. The required period of incapacity following an injury caused by an accident at work, which triggers the employer's requirement to report the accident to the enforcing authority, increases from more than three days to more than seven days. In addition the deadline by which the employer must report the accident increases from 10 days to 15 days.

 

Amendment to s.147 of the Equality Act 2010 comes into force

Section 147 of the Equality Act 2010, which sets out the conditions for a valid compromise agreement, is amended to address concerns about the drafting of this section and the validity of compromise agreements made under it.

 

9 April 2012

Basic state pension increases

The basic state pension increases from £102.15 to £107.45 per week.

 

This list should be not treated as exhaustive, and in no way constitutes legal advice. If your require information about any of the points raised within this article you should seek legal advice, Key Appointments would be happy to provide the details of a trusted advisor.

 We would like to hear your views on this points raised in this article, please feel free to leave a comment or email us directly at info@key-appointments.co.uk


 

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