2002 looks set to be a bumper year for employment law developments. Look out for the following highlights ….
10th January 2002: Parental leave
The right to take parental leave has been extended to all employees (with one years service) who had a child/children under the age of five as at 15th December 1999. They are entitled to 13 weeks unpaid leave per child to be taken before March 2005. Parents with children born after 15th December 1999 remain entitled to take 13 weeks parental leave before the child's 5th birthday.
Parental leave for parents of disabled children has increased from 13 to 18 weeks.
1 February 2002: Tribunal awards
There are two elements to unfair dismissal compensation : the basic award and the compensatory award. With effect from 1 February 2002, the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will increase from £51,700 to £52,600. The actual amount awarded will continue to be assessed by reference to actual financial loss. The maximum cap on a 'week's earnings' for calculating the basic award will increase from £240 to £250.
These changes will have affect where the date of termination of employment is on or after 1 February 2001.
Early 2002: Data Protection
The remaining parts of the DPA Code of Practice on the use of personal data in employer/employee relationships is due to be published.
April 2002: Maternity pay
The flat rate of statutory maternity pay will increase from £62 to £75 per week.
10th July 2002: Fixed Term Workers
The Fixed Term Workers Regulations come into force which will prohibit discrimination against employees on fixed-term contracts.
Mid 2002: Transfer of Undertakings
During the course of this year we expect to see a revised version of the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations 1981. This will, we hope, remove much of the current confusion generated by the Regulations. The changes are expected to include options for new rules on when the Regulations apply, better protection of occupational pension rights, greater flexibility for insolvent businesses, clarification of the 'ETO' defence, a requirement for the transferor to notify the transferee of rights and obligations transferred and clarification of the Regulations application to contracting out of services.
And, saving the best till last ……..
Currently being considered by Parliament: Employment Bill
The main piece of up and coming employment legislation is the Employment Bill. Most of the provisions are unlikely to take effect until 2003 but will undoubtedly hit the headlines during 2002. The proposals include:-
introduction of statutory dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures;
a new category of automatic unfair dismissal where the new statutory procedures have not been followed;
a requirement for employees to raise grievances with employers before applying to tribunal;
six months paid and six months unpaid maternity leave; and
two weeks paid paternity leave