Last week I published an article reviewing the Government’s proposed timetable for implementing a number of changes planned for employment law.
In this, the second of a two part review of that timetable, I will summarise key changes that I noted which will be introduced from Autumn 2013 and in to 2014.
For details of the changes being introduced up to the summer of 2013, please read my previous article which can be found here > Government Publishes Updated Employment Law Reform Timetable For 2013
Changes Expected For Autumn 2013
- TUPE Regulations
The government is consulting on reforms to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)Their intention is to give business more flexibility to promote growth, while at the same time still protecting the rights of individual employees.Consultations will end in April 2013. Any changes to the TUPE process will come in to force from October 2013.
- Employing Staff For The First Time – Online Tool
In December 2013, the HMRC website is to migrate to the gov.uk website.As part of this migration, the Government are developing their online tool, “Employing Staff For The First Time”.While the tool has been around for around a year, they aim to provide better integration with information about taxation and PAYE.
- Employee Shareholder Status
The Government would like to broaden the types of employment contracts used by companies. One way they believe they can do this is by introducing a new employment status.This new status, which they are referring to as “Employee Shareholder Status” brings together shares exempt from Capital Gains Tax and a deregulated approach to employment law.Essential employment protections and fairness for individuals would be retained in the new status.Providing the plans are approved by Parliament, the Employee Shareholder is expected to be introduced some time in Autumn 2013.
- Interactive Discipline Guidance
Information and guidance on the disciplinary process will be provided to employers via an online tool.The tool which is being developed in conjunction with ACAS, will be aimed at small businesses and seeks to address the issues raised by them.
Changes Expected For Spring 2014 & Beyond
- Flexible Working Rights Extended To All Employees
The Government’s report announces that they would like to create:“ a culture change across business, where the concepts of full time working and part time working are substituted by just the concept of working”To encourage discussions between employers and employees about patterns of work, from Spring 2014, the Government will extend the right to request flexible working hours to all employees in an amendment of the Children and Families Bill.
- A Different Approach To Management Of Sickness Absence
The Government plan to introduce a new advisory service for health and work assessments.The service will offer free occupational health advice to employers, their employees and GPs.For employees who have been off sick for four weeks, it will offer an independent assessment.This is part of a wider initiative to help employers manage sickness absence and ensure they have the right information when they need it.Funding for this work will come from the abolition of the Percentage Threshold Scheme. At the moment, this provides financial recompense for those with high levels of sickness absence. It does not provide support or incentives to reduce absence levels and does not recognise employers who are already managing absence effectively.
- Employment Tribunals To Have The Power To Levy Financial Penalties Against Employers
Where employers are found to have breached employment right, Employment Tribunal Judges will have discretion to levy a penalty against the employer.This penalty will be up to 50% of the award value where an employer has breached employment rights.Cases where there has been a genuine mistake will not be subject to such penalties.It is hoped this measure will lead to fewer Employment Tribunal claims.
- Early Conciliation Provisions
To avoid the need for Employment Tribunals, before a claim can be lodged, the parties involved in a dispute will be offered the change to resolve the dispute through ACAS conciliation.
Employment Reforms For 2015
- Shared Parental Leave
At some point during 2015, the Government intend to amend the Children and Families Bill to create a new right of Shared Parental Leave.The result will be that families will be able to decide who and how their children are looked after in the first year. Parents will also be given more childcare management choices so both parents have equal opportunity to work.