April 2012 employment law changes

Every April a host of changes are made to employment legislation and 2012 is no different.
This year, important amendments include those relating to unfair dismissal and statutory maternity and sick pay.
The following are four of the key reforms that will affect employers.

Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay increase

On 1 April 2012, the weekly rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases from £128.73 to £135.45.
The weekly rate of statutory sick pay also increases, from £81.60 to £85.85, on 6 April 2012.
On 6 April 2012, the lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions increases from £102 to £107, the income tax personal allowance increases to £8,105, and the threshold at which employees pay the higher income tax rate of 40% is reduced to £34,371.

Qualifying period for unfair dismissal increases

On 6 April 2012, the qualifying period for making an unfair dismissal claim (in most circumstances) increases from one to two years. The change applies only to employees who start their job on or after 6 April 2012.
The qualifying period for the right to receive a written statement of reasons for dismissal, on request, also increases from one to two years.

Accident-reporting requirements change

On 6 April 2012, the required period of incapacity following an injury caused by an accident at work, which triggers the employer’s requirement to report the accident to the enforcing authority, increases from more than three days to more than seven days. The deadline by which the employer must report the accident increases from 10 days to 15 days.

Definition of “independent adviser” for compromise agreements clarified

Section 147 of the Equality Act 2010 is amended on 6 April 2012 to confirm that an employee’s representative can be an “independent adviser” for the purpose of a compromise agreement. This deals with one of the conditions of a valid compromise agreement, which is that the employee has received advice from an independent adviser about the terms and effect of the agreement.

Sandra Smart

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I believe that recruitment is at the heart of a growing economy and that a different type of recruitment service, with honesty, efficiency and integrity at its heart, can benefit all. Octopus Personnel is the result of hard work, focus and commitment to that vision – to delivering consistently great results for our candidates and clients alike, as well as ensuring the agency is a vibrant, inclusive, inspirational place to work and develop rewarding careers.