A number of changes in employment law will be implemented in April 2012.
Unfair dismissal qualifying period
The qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim will increase from one to two years for employees who start new employment on or after 6 April 2012.
Statutory payment rates
- Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will rise from £128.73 to £135.45 per week from 1 April 2012
- Statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 per week from 6 April 2012
Drafting problems with the Equality Act 2010 will be corrected to make it clear that individuals can waive claims under the Equality Act using a compromise agreement.
The amount of deposit which a tribunal can order a party to pay will increase from £500 to £1,000.
The maximum costs award which a tribunal can make will increase from £10,000 to £20,000.
Employment judges sitting alone will be able to hear unfair dismissal cases, without lay members.
Witness statements will be taken as read, with no need for witnesses to read them aloud before being cross-examined.
After strong lobbying by EEF on this issue, the clarifying regulations regarding the ‘prescribed form’ of an apprenticeship agreement will come into force on 6 April 2012.
The apprenticeship agreement must contain the basic terms of employment required to be given to employees under section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which can be in the form of a written statement of particulars of employment, a written contract of employment or a letter of engagement. In addition, the apprenticeship agreement must also include a statement of the skill, trade or occupation for which the apprentice is being trained.