Employment Law Changes in April 2012

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Posted in:HR and Employment|March 26, 2012 | Join the mailing list

Employers should be aware that there are a number of employment law changes which take effect from April 2012 including:

1. The rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from 1 April 2012 from £128.73 to £135.45. The weekly earnings threshold for these payments will rise from £102 to £107. Maternity allowance will increase from £124.88 to £135.45,
with the earnings threshold remaining at £30.

2. The standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from £81.60 to £85.85 per week on 6 April 2012, with the weekly earnings threshold also rising from £102 to £107.

3. Employers should also prepare their payroll systems for changes to national insurance and income tax rates and thresholds for 2012/13, which come into force on 6 April 2012.

4. Legislation is being phased in from 1 October 2012 requiring employers to enrol eligible employees automatically and make mandatory employer contributions to a qualifying workplace pension scheme. The starting date for each employee is based on the number
of employees in its PAYE scheme on 1 April 2012, making this an important date for employers preparing for auto-enrolment.

5. On 6 April 2012, the qualifying period to claim unfair dismissal will increase from one year’s continuous employment to two years. However, it is important to note that the changes will not affect those employees whose period of continuous employment
begins before 6 April 2012.

Alison Loveday of Berg commented: "March is always a key month for employers with the regular April employment law changes fast approaching. Employers should take this opportunity to ensure that payroll systems and policies and procedures are up-to-date,
to reflect the increases in statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay, and statutory sick pay.

There are also proposals to introduce changes to holiday rights to bring the UK in line with EU developments. The Government is expected to release its response this Spring in terms of amending the Working Time Regulations to allow workers to carry over
leave which is untaken due to absence on maternity, adoption, parental and paternity leave, into the next leave year. This has previously been a grey area and it is hoped that if implemented, will bring some certainty for employers and employees alike."

To discuss how we can provide further advice in connection with these issues, please contact Alison Loveday, Partner and Head of our Employment team, by email to
alisonl@berg.co.uk
or alternatively you can call Alison on 0161 833 9211.

The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. No responsibility for article’s accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees.
Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of the contents of this article.

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