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Employment law changes - April 2012

BY Gerry O'Hare
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

It is that time of year again and we thought we thought it prudent to remind our readers of the changes coming into effect this Friday, 6 April 2012.

Qualifying period for unfair dismissal increases to two years
The qualifying period for employees to bring a claim of unfair dismissal increases from one year to two years. Please note that the increase will apply only to employees who start a new job on or after 6 April 2012.  

Changes to tribunal procedure come into force
There are also a number of changes to employment tribunal procedure:

  • The maximum amount of a deposit order, which a tribunal can order a party to pay as a condition to continuing with tribunal proceedings, increases from £500 to £1,000.
  • The maximum amount of a costs order, which a tribunal may award in favour of a legally represented party, increases from £10,000 to £20,000.
  • Witness statements cease to be read aloud and are instead taken "as read", unless the tribunal directs otherwise.
  • Tribunals have the power to direct that the parties to a dispute are responsible for paying witnesses' expenses and that the party who loses the case should reimburse the successful party for any such costs already paid out.

In addition, employment judges will hear unfair dismissal cases alone in the employment tribunal, unless they direct otherwise.

Statutory sick pay increases
The standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from £81.60 to £85.85 per week. 

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