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Employment Law: what to expect in 2012

BY Richard Woods
Employment law
BG Purple

With the holiday season over and our thoughts turning to losing the holiday weight, we at Law at Work thought it would be useful to remind you about what we expect to be happening in the world of employment law in 2012. 

Tribunal Compensation Increases – February 
As ever, the new compensation limits will come into force at the start of February. The maximum award for unfair dismissal will increase to £72,300 while the limit on a week’s pay will increase to £430.  Remember that the new limits apply only to events that take place on or after 1 February.  

Unfair dismissal – April  
It is expected that the qualifying period for unfair dismissal will rise from one year to two years.  

Tribunal powers – April   
There will be an increase in deposit orders and costs awards which will give tribunals more leverage to persuade claimants with hopeless cases to withdraw their claims.  

Family friendly policies -  April   
Parental leave will be increased from three to four months. As is always the case in April the statutory payments for paternity/maternity/adoption leave will also be increased.   

Holidays – April   
After several years of uncertainty about how many holidays can be carried forward from one year to the next, the working time rules will be amended to provide clarity in this area.   

Pension enrolment – October 2012   
The new changes requiring employers to automatically enrol their employees in a pension scheme will come into force for large employers.   

Consultation  
TUPE – In January the government’s consultation on whether TUPE is fit for purpose and whether the rules on collective redundancy should be updated will close. 

Tribunal fees – as we have previously reported, the government is currently consulting on whether to introduce a fee for making tribunal and appeal tribunal claims.  The consultation on this issue will close on 6  March and shortly thereafter we will have a much better idea on what the government plans to do.  

Other Changes   
There are a range of other changes proposed by the coalition government which we expect to come into force in 2012 but that do not have any confirmed date as yet.  Among these are proposals to make compromise agreements more straightforward, provisions to force litigants in Tribunals to seek early ACAS involvement to improve conciliation, and the revision of the ACAS code on grievances and discipline in an effort to make the process of dismissal easier. 

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