25th January 2011


 Issue No.  2011/02



  2011 – WHAT’S IN STORE?

Where does the time go?  Can you believe we are two thirds of the way through January already?
In this Information Update, we briefly summarise some of the known and expected changes to Employment Law that you might want to look out for in 2011.
1st JANUARY 2011
National Minimum Wage Changes
Expenses for travel to temporary workplaces cannot be counted towards the National Minimum Wage.
Breach national minimum wage legislation - scheme for naming employers.  Those found to be in breach of legislation will be given three months to address the problem.
1st FEBRUARY 2011 
Guarantee Pay
The Guarantee pay rate increases from £21.20 to £22.20.
Redundancy Pay
When calculating Statutory Redundancy Pay, a week’s pay will be capped at £400 (prior to 1st February £380).
Unfair Dismissal Compensation
The maximum Compensation for Unfair Dismissal increases from £65,300 to £68,400.
30th MARCH 2011  
Last date that employers can give 6 months notice of retirement.
3rd APRIL 2011 
Paternity Leave
New Additional Paternity Leave arrangements will give fathers an entitlement to claim up to six months' of the mother's maternity leave provided the mother returns to work. The new right applies to fathers of children due on or after 3 April 2011. The extra leave is in addition to the current two weeks’ paternity leave entitlement.
6th APRIL 2011  
Default Retirement Age
The Default Retirement Age is abolished. Employers no longer able to issue notifications for compulsory retirement using the DRA procedure.  
Statutory Maternity/Adoption/Paternity Pay
SMP/SAP/SPP is increased from £124.88 to £128.73.
Statutory Sick Pay
SSP is increased from £79.15 to £81.60 per week.
Personal Allowance
Personal allowance for income tax for basic rate tax payers under the age of 65 will be increased by £1,000.
National Insurance Contributions
Employers’ national insurance contributions increased by 1% to 13.8%.
National Insurance Contributions will also be increase by 1% for employees.
Threshold at which employers pay National Insurance raised by £21 per week.
Time off for Training
Employees of companies with fewer than 250 employees are granted statutory right to request time off for training or study. Already in place for businesses with more than 250 employees, the change means employers have to seriously consider any training requests received.
Flexible Working
Right to request flexible working extended to parents with children under 18, (17 at present) providing the employee meets other existing qualifying criteria.
Single Equality Duty
Single Equality Duty for public bodies comes into force.
Positive action provisions of the Equality Act come into force
Section 159 of the Equality Act 2010, which permits employers to treat individuals with a protected characteristic more favourably than others in connection with recruitment or promotion, comes into force.  This will allow employers to positively choose individuals who meet an under represented protected characteristic when in all other respects they are ranked as equal.
Also in April (date TBC)
Bribery Act 2010 (Proposed date 8th April)
Bribery Act 2010 comes into force, introducing a new corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery by employees, agents, or other "associated persons" working on behalf of a business unless a business can demonstrate it has adequate anti-bribery procedures in place.
5th JUNE 2011 
Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (Amendment) Regulations 2010 come into force
The Regulations provide new rights to European Works Council members and those of special negotiating bodies, for example establishing a right to time off to undergo training to help them undertake their duties.
19th JUNE 2011 
EU blue-card Directive must be implemented
The Directive defines conditions of entry and residence for more than three months of people who are not EU citizens and who apply to be admitted to the EU for the purpose of high-qualified employment. Such people will be issued with an "EU blue card".
1st OCTOBER 2011  
Agency Workers Regulations 2010
The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will provide agency workers with the same basic employment conditions as permanent employees after 12 weeks on an assignment. A detailed information update will be issued in due course on these new Regulations.
National Minimum Wage
Rates applicable from1st October 2011 not yet announced.
And beyond 2011…
8th MARCH 2012 
Member states have until 8th March 2012 to increase Parental leave from three to four months
The minimum parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child increases from three to four months. At least one of the four months will not be transferable between parents.
Personal Accounts scheme starts up under Pensions Act 2008
The Pensions Act provides that from 2012 all eligible workers are to be automatically enrolled into either their employers’ pension scheme or a new savings vehicle, known as a personal account scheme.




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Making sense of it all

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The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.

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