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Key employment law changes expected for 2014

The last two years has seen significant changes in employment law many of which were implemented during 2013 including changes to collective redundancy rules and whistleblowing legislation; the introduction of a fee structure in the employment tribunal and changes to employment tribunal rules. Further changes are due to be introduced and on-going consultation is expected to run into 2015, but the key changes to be aware of this year are set out below:

31 January 2014 – Changes to TUPE Regulations

The most significant changes to be implemented include:

  • The rules on service provision change will remain but the new regulations will clarify that activities carried on after a change must be “fundamentally or essentially the same”
  • Employee Liability Information to be provided within 28 days (currently 14 days)
  • Transferees will be able to renegotiate terms derived from collective agreements one year after the transfer provided the terms are “no less favourable” to the employee

6 April 2014 – Compulsory pre-claim ACAS conciliation

Claimants will be required to submit details of their dispute to ACAS to attempt Early Conciliation for a period of 1 month before they can proceed with an Employment Tribunal Claim. Where settlement is refused by either party or is unsuccessful the claim will be allowed to continue. If Early Conciliation is entered into “the clock will be stopped” on the limitation period for bringing a claim.

6 April 2014 – Extension of right to request flexible working

The right to request flexible working arrangements will extend to all employees with 26 weeks’ continuous service, rather than just those qualifying as parents or carers but will be limited to one request in any 12 month period.

Consultation is also being undertaken in relation to proposals to a new shared parental leave system whereby eligible employees will be able to share 50 weeks’ maternity leave and 37 weeks’ maternity pay between them. Changes are expected to be introduced in 2015.

6 April 2014 – Financial penalties for employers’ breaching employee rights

Employment Tribunals will have the power to impose financial penalties of up to £5000 on losing employers at hearing where it considers there were “aggravating features” to the breach(es) of employee rights. The penalty may be reduced by 50% if payment is made within 21 days.

October 2014 – Equal Pay Audits

Tribunals will have the power to order an employer to carry out a compulsory Equal Pay Audit where it is found to have breached equal pay law.

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