6th April is always a key date for Employment Law changes which this year includes:
Statutory Maternity / Adoption / Paternity Pay
With effect from 6th April 2010 the rate is £124.88 per week (previous rate £123.06).
Statutory Sick Pay per week
No change to Statutory Sick Pay. It remains £79.15 per week.
Sick notes have been replaced by 'fit notes', which will allow a doctor to indicate whether an employee is fit for some work and to recommend changes for the employer to consider to facilitate a return to work. See our Information Update 2010/10 (23rd March 2010).
Additional Paternity Leave
New Regulations give fathers and partners up to six months' additional paternity leave, provided the mother has returned to work without exercising her full entitlement to maternity leave. Some of the leave may be paid, if it is taken during the mother's maternity pay period. The entitlement to Additional Paternity Leave applies to parents of children due (and adoptive parents notified of a match) on or after 3rd April 2011. See our Information Update 2010/11 (1st April 2010).
Time to Train
A new right is introduced for employees to request time off to undertake study or training. It applies to employees with 26 weeks' service or more and employers will be required to give serious consideration to all requests. This right will be phased in and will be made available to employees in organisations with 250 or more employees from 6th April 2010 before being extended to all employees from April 2011. See our Information Update 2009/24 (24th November 2009).
It is now an offence for a person to hold another person in slavery or servitude, or require them to perform forced or compulsory labour. The new offence is aimed at protecting vulnerable workers such as migrants, and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
On 6th April the Points-Based System (PBS) under the Immigration Rules change affecting Tiers 1 and 2, the two main PBS categories which apply to highly skilled and skilled non EU nationals respectively. In summary, the changes include new points criteria for both tiers, a simpler route for very highly skilled workers without Master's degrees, greater flexibility for short-term transfers by multinational companies, and more protection for resident workers against the use of such transfers to fill long-term vacancies. For more information, see www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk