Round-up: April 2012 employment law changes
A number of employment law changes were brought into force in April 2012. Check what they are to see how they affect your business.
From 6 April 2012:
- The qualifying period for which employees must be employed before they can claim unfair dismissal increases from one year to two, but only for employees who started their employment on or after 6 April 2012. For employees who began their continuous employment on or before 5th April 2012, the qualifying period remains at one year only.
- Monthly statutory maternity, paternity and additional paternity pay, and adoption pay, increases from £128.73 to £135.45.
- Monthly statutory sick pay increases from £81.60 to £85.85.
- Employment Tribunal judges sit alone in unfair dismissal cases unless they direct directs otherwise.
- In Employment Tribunals in England & Wales, witness statements no longer need to be read out loud during the hearing, unless the Judge says they should.
- Witness expenses removed.
- The limit on the amount of costs a Tribunal can award against the losing side increases from £10,000 to £20,000.
- The limit on deposit orders increases from £500 to £1,000. These require a party to a dispute to deposit money with the Tribunal before they can carry on, because the Tribunal thinks they have no reasonable prospect of success.
- Employers hiring foreign students in graduate roles must be licensed as sponsors under the immigration points-based system – currently, this is not always required.
Businesses should review their procedures and precedents to take account of the new rates and rules and, where relevant, consider applying to become a sponsor.
Jonathan Waters is the founder of Helix Law. Before qualifying as a Solicitor he worked in industry and in investment banking for over a decade. He was also the Partner in charge of Commercial Litigation, Employment Law and Property Litigation at Stephen Rimmer LLP. Jonathan has wide experience of helping and advising businesses to avoid or to deal with commercial disputes and in particular construction disputes.
This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice.