Thinking ahead: employment law calendar 2007

Laurence Rees and Ruth Bonino of Richards Butler identify what to look out for during the first six months, and provide some tips on preparing for the changes. 


January




  • Undertakings with 100 or more staff should consider whether to set up their own consultation procedures before Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Regulations 2004 take effect on 6 April 2007, to avoid being forced to adopt the default provisions later on.


  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is expected to publish official guidance about new regulations on the right for carers to request flexible working (in force from 6 April 2007).


  • The DTI will publish its annual statement of forthcoming employment regulations for the year.


  • Draft regulations are expected detailing proposals to increase statutory paid holiday entitlement to 5.6 weeks (maximum 28 days) per year from 1 October 2007.


February




  • Make your final preparations for the Work and Families Act 2006 and associated regulations that apply to parents (natural and adoptive) of babies expected to be born or adopted on or after 1 April 2007.


  • Regulations implementing the annual increase in tribunal award limits come into force on 1 February.


  • The Low Pay Commission will report on the impact of the recent national minimum wage increase.


March




  • Public authorities should make their last-minute preparations for gender equality schemes to be finalised and implemented by the end of next month.


April




  • The Work and Families Act 2006 and associated regulations apply in respect of parents (natural or adoptive) of babies expected to be born or adopted after 1 April 2007. The main effects are:


  • Paid statutory maternity and adoption pay will be extended to 39 weeks (52 weeks by 2009)


  • Additional maternity leave will be available to all employees


  • Employers will be allowed to keep reasonable contact with the employee on leave, permitting her to have ‘keep-in-touch’ days.


  • Employers will be given more notice of an early return to work.

In force this month:




  • Smoking ban in public places (including workplaces) in Wales and Northern Ireland.


  • ICE Regulations 2004 in respect of all undertakings with 100 or more staff.


  • Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Consultation by Employers and Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2006 impose consultation duties on employers in respect of significant changes.


  • Flexible Working (Eligibility, Complaints and Remedies) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 extend the right to request flexible working to carers.


  • Sex Discrimination Act 1975 imposes Gender Equality Duty on public authorities (in force 6 April), which have until 30 April 2007 to produce, publish and implement gender equality schemes for a period of up to three years.


  • Regulations will increase rates for statutory benefits such as statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay and statutory sick pay.


May




  • Draw up your smoking policy in consultation with staff in preparation for the smoking ban in public places (including workplaces) in England, due to be implemented on 1 July pursuant to regulations made under the Health Act 2006.


June




  • Check progress of the Corporate Manslaughter Bill and additional paternity leave and pay regulations.

To view the full timetable for the year, see Employers’ Law magazine.

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