We have summarised the employment law changes set to come into force in the UK over the next two years.

Below are details of what is proposed to help businesses plan for the potential implications of these legislative revisions.

Proposed changes

Launch date

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage will increase to:

  • 21+ £6.31
  • 18-20yrs £5.03
  • Under 18yrs £3.72
  • Apprentice £2.68

 

October 2013

Employment terms and conditions – agricultural and horticultural

 

Changes in statutory employment terms and conditions in agriculture and horticulture in England.

1 October 2013

Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment (TUPE)

Changes to TUPE that have made it through the consultation include:

  • Allowing the employer to renegotiate terms agreed in collective agreement one year after transfer, provided that overall the change is no less favourable to the employee;
  • Allowing businesses with 10 or fewer employees to inform and consult directly with employees; and
  • Clarification that for TUPE to apply, the activities carried on after SPCs must be “fundamentally or essentially the same” as those carried on before them, reflecting the approach set out in the case law.

In addition, the Government is going to increase the time before the transfer by which employee liability information must be provided, from 14 to 28 days.

It is proposed that these changes will come into force in January 2014, although this has not been confirmed.

January 2014

Early conciliation to come into force

From April 2014, before lodging a tribunal claim, all claimants will need to notify ACAS first, where conciliation will be offered.

ACAS is the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitrary Service (a non-departmental public body of the government in the UK).

If conciliation is unsuccessful within the set period, claimants can then lodge a tribunal claim.

April 2014

Flexible working

The Government proposes to extend the right of flexible working to all employees and remove the current statutory procedure for considering requests.

This will mean employers will have a duty to consider all requests in a reasonable manner and have the right to refuse requests on business grounds.

Spring 2014

Flexible parental leave

Under this new system, parents will be able to choose how they share the care of their child during the first year after birth. Mothers will still take at least the initial two weeks following the birth. They can then choose to end their maternity leave and both parents can opt to share the remaining leave as flexible parental leave.

Also under this new shared parental leave, it is proposed to allow the husband, civil partner or partner of the pregnant women the right to take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments.

2015

Parental leave extended to 18

The right to unpaid parental leave will be extended to parents of any child under the age of 18.

2015

Surrogate parents eligible for adoption leave

Provided they meet the eligibility criteria, parents who have a child through surrogacy, will be able to take ordinary paternity leave and pay, adoption leave and pay and shared parental leave and pay.

Both parents will also be entitled to take unpaid time off to attend two antenatal appointments with the woman carrying the child.

2015

School leaving age to rise to 18

Under the present law, the school leave age is 16. However, from September 2013, the education leaving age will rise to 17 and from 2015, it will rise again, to 18.

2015

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