In general, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills introduces legislative changes twice a year - April and October. The idea is to make it easier for employers (and employees) to keep abreast of the changes. The following are effective from April 2010.
We will publicise the changes that become effective in October 2010 in our September 2010 edition of our employment law update, the most prominent being the introduction of the provisions of the current Equality Bill.
Additional paternity leave and pay 6 April 2010
Under new rights available to parents of children due (or matched for adoption) on or after 3 April 2011, mothers will be able to transfer the last six months of their maternity leave to the father if she decides to return to work before the end of her leave.
As with current paternity leave (which only lasts for two weeks), additional paternity leave extends to partners and civil partners of mothers. Some of the leave may be paid if taken during the mother’s 39 week maternity pay period at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay (£124.88 per week as of 6 April 2010).
Right to request to train 6 April 2010
This new right gives employees working in organisations that employ 250 or more people the legal right to request time off for studying or training. This will then be extended to all organisations from 6 April 2011. It is only applicable to employees who have worked for their employer continuously for at least 26 weeks. As with a request to work flexibly, the employer must consider the request to train and can only turn it down if they have a good business reason for doing so.
Introduction of “fit notes” 6 April 2010
Increase in lower earnings limit 6 April 2010
Regulations increase the lower earnings limit for primary Class 1 national insurance contributions from £95 to £97. All other national insurance contributions rates, limits and thresholds remain unchanged.
Data Protection - monetary penalties 6 April 2010
When serving monetary penalty notices and notices of intent on data controllers, the new law states that the Information Commissioner must consider any written representations made by a data controller in relation to a notice of intent, when deciding whether or not to serve a monetary penalty notice. It also sets out a minimum 21-day period for making written representations, and a minimum 28-day period after service of the monetary penalty notice within which the penalty must be paid. The maximum monetary penalty that can be imposed on a data controller is £500,000.
Blacklisting union membership or activities
New regulations outlaw the sale, use, compilation, or supply of a blacklist of workers because of their union membership or activities. Anyone who thinks they have been blacklisted can complain to a tribunal and apply to the court for damages.
To keep up to date with the very latest employment law developments subscribe to our free monthly update, simply e-mail email@example.com and we'll add you to our subscriber list.
Robert Gibson - Managing Partner, Head of Employment Law, Samuel Phillips Law Firm