The Employment Laws That Shaped 2013
During 2013 the UK’s employment laws changed dramatically. Various new terms have been introduced that have overturned the previous rules considerably. This has included several changes in employment tribunals that saw new settlement treaties being introduced to replace now defunct compromise agreements. Another significant change is the introduction of a new two-year time period being required for launching unfair dismissal cases. Here is a general description of the laws recently passed and the affect they will have on UK law.
1. The Elimination of third party harassment
The third party harassment act was established as part of the 2010 Equality Act, which states that an employer is legally accountable if their employees are working in conditions in which they may be on the receiving end of harassment by a third party. If such an incident should occur on two or more occasions, an employee has the right to sue. There are many professions in which such incidents can occur, such as bar and nightclub employees being subjected to abuse by inebriated customers. The recent change of legislation has relaxed much of the pressure that these requirements have on employers, however, these changes are by no means an indication that employers should not stay vigilant against scenarios in which their employees feel threatened or are placed in danger. Third-party harassment should always be one of an employer’s greatest concerns.
2. The End of the Agricultural Minimum Wage
The abolition of the Agricultural minimum wage has definitely been a long overdue development in the world of employment law, having finally been removed in October 2013. This brought separate working laws for employees in the agricultural and horticultural sectors to an end after years of union calls to do so. Now that both the National Minimum Wage and Working Time Regulations apply to these sectors, the quality of life for thousands of UK citizens will improve significantly.
3. Increasing the National Minimum Wage
Speaking of the UK’s national minimum wage, the adult hourly pay rate has increased this year, now standing at £6.31. There is also an increase for 18 – 20 year old workers who will now receive a new hourly rate of £5.03. For employees under 18, wages will increase to £3.72 per hour and for apprentices the wage will become £2.68.
TUPE Changes for 2014
A series of further changes will implemented in 2014, beginning in January with alterations being made to the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings & Protection of Employment) regulations of 2006.
The changes that have been projected towards TUPE include:
- The rejection of the proposed abolishment of Regulation 3(1)(b) and the ‘service provision change’. This is a decision that follows the government’s taking into account the concerns of employers who claimed that any changes would result in great uncertainty and create redundancy liabilities for employers.
- The projected repeal of employee liability information under the guidelines of Regulations 10 and 11 has also been dropped. Although employee liability information must instead be provided within 28 days of all transfers rather than the current 14 day period required.
- Plans to allow TUPE consultations involving more than 20 redundancies to also satisfy the requirements for consultation on collective redundancies where the two can run parallel.
- Allowing micro-businesses with ten or less employees to inform and consult directly with employees as opposed to employee representatives.
- Amendments to ‘entailing changes in the workforce’ definition so that TUPE dismissals involving a change in the place of work will now not be automatically unfair
How do you feel about the employment law changes made in 2013? Are you concerned about the proposed changes to TUPE in 2014? Comment and have your say.
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