Important Changes in Employment Law for 2014

The year 2014 is very important for employment law. The current laws were introduced in the mid-1990s, so with it being nearly 20 years later, it stands to reason the UK government would be looking to change employment laws to meet current requirements and changes that have occurred to employment as a whole. Several proposed changes have been put into the works, with most of the employment changes occurring in April 2014. These new laws will have a greater impact on some employees than on others.

One change coming in January 2014 is the TUPE, or Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment. This is a change to cover service provision in that employee liability information may need to be offered earlier and there may also need to be changes to the information for place of work changes. Unfair dismissal worries have led to this change.

For April the early conciliation, financial penalties and pay increase proposals are due to come into force. Early conciliation is meant to be forced in that a tribunal will not receive a claim until ACAS have been notified first. This is where conciliation is being offered. If the conciliation is not accepted, then the claimant can make a tribunal claim for employment issues. 

Financial penalties to be paid by employers may change at the Employment Tribunal’s discretion. The tribunal will have the power to decide if a penalty needs to be paid by the employer for breach of rights or one or more issues. The pay increase relates to paternity, maternity and adoptions, in which the rate will now be £138.18.

Another two changes for 2014 include flexible working and sickness absences. The government would like to extend flexible working for employees and remove certain statutory procedures that are in place right now. Employers have a duty to grant reasonable requests for flexible working; however, they can also refuse should there be no reason for the request to be made.

Sickness absences are going to be covered under an advisory service and health and work assessment in which a fee for health assistance for employers, GPs and employees is proposed. The service will offer help for those out of the workplace for an illness that lasts at least four weeks. 

These are just a few of the proposed employment law changes. They are going to be enforced in 2014 by early spring as long as no appeal is made between now and the launch dates. There are more employment laws coming down the pike though. These are supposed to be in effect by 2015. 

Flexible parental leave, for example, is going to be added, in which the mother can choose to share leave with the father during the maternity leave period offered. Additionally, parental leave from work is to be extended for children up to 18 years of age. This is unpaid leave, but the employee does not have to worry about their job being taken should a crisis arise and leave is necessary.

Surrogate parents can also gain adoption leave, in which there is a specific period of paid leave for new parents in order to make visits with the mother of the child. Lastly, a proposed change is to make the school-leaving age 18. Children may have to remain in school until they are 18 before they can move on to higher education or get full-time work.

Some of the employment law changes are still in the proposal stage and are most likely going to pass and become effective by 2015. It is important that to ensure workplace adherence all employees and employers understand the changes that will happen soon.