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April employment law changes

Here is a reminder of the employment law changes which are taking effect next month:

  • The unfair dismissal qualifying period is increasing from one to two years for employees commencing employment on or after 6 April 2012.
  • Statutory sick pay will increase to £85.85 per week (from £81.60) and statutory maternity pay to £135.45 per week (from £128.73). The weekly earnings threshold will rise to from £102 to £107.
  • Unfair dismissal cases will be heard by a judge sitting alone (i.e. without two lay members), unless the judge directs otherwise.
  • The limit for deposit orders will increase from £500 to £1000.
  • The limit for cost awards will increase from £10,000 to £20,000.
  • Where witness statements are being used, these will require to be taken as read unless the tribunal directs otherwise (witness statements are rarely used in Scottish tribunals).
  • State-funded expenses will be withdrawn and tribunals will have the power to direct parties to bear the costs of witness attendance, including the costs of witnesses called by the successful party.
  • Section 147 of the Equality Act 2010, which sets out the conditions for a valid compromise agreement, will be amended to address concerns about the drafting of this section and the validity of compromise agreements made under it.
  • The prescribed form of apprenticeship agreement in terms of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 is expected to come into force (England and Wales only).

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