Employment law changes

5 April 2012

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We thought it would be useful to share with you a round-up of key legislative changes to employment that will come into force from 6 April 2012 (unless otherwise stated)

• The standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase to £135.45 per week from £128.73 (from 1 April).
• The standard rate of statutory sick pay will increase to £85.85 a week (from the current amount of £81.60).
• The income tax personal allowance threshold will increase by £630 to £8,105.
• The higher income tax rate threshold of 40% will be lowered to £34,371 (from £35,001).
• The lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) will increase from £102 to £107.
• Employees will need to have been employed within a role for two years to be able to bring an unfair dismissal claim. Previously, only one year’s service was required. However, this will only apply to employees who begin a new job on or after 6 April 2012.
• There will also be changes to employment tribunal procedure. Among them, the maximum amount a tribunal can order a party to pay as a condition that proceedings will continue will rise from £500 to £1,000. The maximum amount a tribunal can award in favour of a legally represented party will rise from £10,000 to £20,000.
• Health and safety reporting requirements will also change from 6 April. Following a serious injury sustained in the workplace, before an employer must report the accident to the enforcing authority an employee must be incapacitated for more than seven days (previously it was more than three). The employer must report the accident within 15 days (previously the deadline was 10 days).
• The Pensions Act 2007 and the Pensions Act 2008 will abolish contracting out of the state additional pension on a defined-contribution basis for occupational, personal and stakeholder pension schemes. Employees will be automatically brought back into the state system and they’ll start to accumulate entitlement to additional state pension. Those in money-purchase/defined-contribution occupational schemes will pay the standard rate NICs (not the reduced rate).

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