Changes to employment law expected in 2010
While some legal changes in 2010 appear to be timetabled at certain times of the year, the outcome of the General Election is likely to determine the direction and content of many of the legal developments which follow it.
As regional governments continue to implement their own take on particular policies, in some cases, the Scottish and Northern Ireland situation may differ from that in England and Wales. CIPD members can see our factsheet outlining the key differences between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
Compensation limits for unfair dismissal will go down (for the first time ever) from £66,200 to £65,300 – from 1 February 2010. (The maximum weekly pay to be taken into account when calculating statutory redundancy payments, and the basic award in unfair dismissal claims, was increased to £380 in October 2009 and is not changed again.)
‘Early’ in 2010
Following a consultation process in 2009, proposed regulations on union blacklisting are expected to come into force.
The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Amendment Regulations 2010 will introduce new 'fit notes' that will replace sick notes in England, Wales and Scotland.
Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay - the standard rates of SMP, SPP and SAP will increase to £124.88 a week. (The standard rate of Statutory sick pay (SSP) will remain unchanged at £79.15 a week.)
Following consultations in 2009, amendments to the Conduct of Employment Agencies Regulations are expected to come into force.
Regulations are expected to come into force which will allow parents of children due on or after 3 April 2011 to transfer part of the mother’s maternity leave to the father.
Under the Apprentices, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009, after a minimum of six month’s service in organisations with 250 or more staff, employees will have the right to request time off for training which they believe will make them productive and effective at work. As in the existing arrangements covering flexible working, employers will have a duty to consider seriously any such request. There will be no requirement for an employer to pay for the training or time off. (The right will be extended to all sizes of organisation from April 2011.)
Provisions of the Equality Act expected to come into force.
Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, people seeking work in a ‘regulated activity’ must register with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), although they may register from 26 July 2010.
The planned review of the default retirement age (DRA) has been brought forward to 2010. In October 2009 the Government called for evidence on the DRA to feed into the review to be submitted by 1 February 2010.
Source: People Management & CIPD