Legal timetable: What’s coming up

1 February 2006

Changes to statutory compensation limits

Limit on a week’s pay for calculating the basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay increased from 280 to 290 per week. Limit on compensatory award for unfair dismissal increased from 56,800 to 58,400.

26 March 2006

Smoking ban in Scotland

Smoking in enclosed public places, including workplaces, will be prohibited.

April 2006

Unified tribunal service

The Employment Appeals Service, which administers the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal, will be merged into a single service with other non-employment tribunal services. The new service will have the capacity to explore alternative methods of resolving disputes.

Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay and statutory sick pay

The standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from 106 to 108.85 per week.
The standard rate of statutory sick pay will increase from 68.20 to 70.05 per week.

6 April 2006

Pensions consultation

Regulations requiring employers to consult with prospective and active members of pension schemes before making significant or major changes to the schemes will be introduced.

Pensions “A-day”

A new tax regime for pensions comes into force. Key changes include the abolition of the existing earnings cap limiting contributions and the introduction of a lifetime allowance.

New code of practice on racial discrimination

The Commission for Racial Equality’s new Code of Practice on racial equality in employment will replace the existing 1984 version of the code. Recommendations in the code must be taken into account by employment tribunals.

Transfer of undertakings (TUPE)

New TUPE Regulations implementing the amended Acquired Rights Directive will be brought into force. Key proposed changes will include:
Application of TUPE more comprehensively to service contracting operations.

A requirement for transferors to provide transferees with information about transferring employees.

An express provision that transfer-related changes to terms and conditions for an economic, technical or organisational reason will be permitted.

Promotion of a rescue culture, by improving the way TUPE operates when an insolvent business is sold.

1 October 2006

Age discrimination

Introduction of legislation prohibits direct and indirect age discrimination as well as age-related victimisation and harassment. There will be a default retirement age of 65, but employers will be under a duty to consider requests to work beyond this age.

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage will increase from 5.05 to 5.35. The youth rate, which applies to 18- to 21-year-olds, will increase to 4.45.

During 2006

Corporate manslaughter

A new offence of corporate manslaughter is expected to be introduced during 2006. An organisation may be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter if a gross failing by its senior managers to take reasonable care for the safety of their workers or members of the public causes a person’s death. It is proposed that the penalty would be an unlimited fine.

April 2007

Paid maternity leave extended

Paid maternity leave and adoption leave will be extended from six to nine months with a goal of one year’s paid leave by 2010. The Work and Families Bill contains a number of other proposals which will be consulted on during 2006, including:



  • A new right for mothers to transfer a proportion of their maternity leave and pay to fathers.
  • Removing the current length of service requirement for additional maternity leave.
  • Introducing “keeping in touch days”.
  • Requiring mothers to give eight weeks’ notice (rather than four weeks) if they wish to return to work early.

6 April 2007

Information and consultation

The Information and Consultation Regulations will apply to undertakings with 100 or more employees. Similarly, the new regulations requiring employers to consult pension scheme members will be extended to cover undertakings with 100 employees or more.

Summer 2007

Smoking ban in England

Smoking in most enclosed public places, including workplaces, will be prohibited.

October

Commission for Equality and Human Rights

A new single Commission for Equality and Human Rights will be established. It will bring together the work of the Commission for Racial Equality (from April 2009), the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission. It will also have responsibility for the new equality areas of age, religion and belief, and sexual orientation and will work to promote human rights.

24 october 2007

Data protection

Manual filing systems in existence before 24 October 1998 will be required to comply fully with the Data Protection Directive.

2008 6 April 2007

Information and consultation

The Information and Consultation Regulations will apply to undertakings with 50 or more employees. New regulations requiring employers to consult with pension scheme members will be extended to cover undertakings with 50 employees or more.

2009-2010

Paid maternity leave extended

Paid maternity and adoption leave to be extended from nine months to one year.

Compiled by the Employment Group at Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw (www.mayerbrownrowe.com/london)

For a more detailed analysis of changes and to keep on top of future employment law deadlines
@ www.personneltoday.com/timetable


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