There are a few essential changes to employment legislation coming into force on the 6th April 2012 that are primarily aimed at reducing the number of tribunal claims made, tribunal costs incurred and the time to resolve cases that do go to tribunal.
- The Qualifying Period for employees to be able to claim unfair dismissal at tribunal increases to 2 years. This will only apply to employees who join you on or after 6th April 2012. Current employees will still qualify after 1 year’s service.
- To date, in most cases tribunals are normally heard by an employment judge and 2 lay members; from 6th April 2012 an employment judge will sit alone to hear unfair dismissal cases unless they are particularly complex or involve claims of discrimination.
- The proposal to introduce Tribunal Fees to employees wishing to lodge a claim is still under consultation and we will report back when we have any more information.
These changes should reduce the risks to businesses of facing frivolous or vexatious employment tribunal claims, however it may make it harder for genuine cases to be heard.
Of course prevention is better than cure so we suggest that the best protection is still to follow legislation and best practice when it comes to employing staff!
The Pensions Act 2008 starts to impact business from 1st October 2012 and some SMEs will be required to comply as early as October 2013. This will affect employment contracts, payroll systems and other administrative functions in your business as well as having a cost implication on your salary budget so we advise businesses to start planning for it in 2012. We are working with an employment solicitor, an IFA and a payroll expert to ensure we give our clients the best support through these changes. Contact us to talk about how it will affect your business.
There is an additional public holiday on Tuesday 5th June in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. To complicate matters further, the end of May Bank Holiday is being moved to the 4th June 2012.
You will need to decide how to manage this, both in terms of employees wanting time off and ensuring business continuity. We’d suggest you start planning for it now and you will need to refer to your employment contracts to decide how to proceed, Call us if you need any advice.