Employment Updates - March 2013

March 2013

Employment Updates - March 2013

Unpaid Parent Leave Extended

The Parental Leave (EU Directive) Regulations 2013 SI 2013/283 came into force on 8 March 2013 and extend qualifying employees’ entitlement to unpaid parental leave, from 13 weeks to 18 weeks per child. 

Fit Note Advice

The Government has revised its guidance on using fit notes, which can be found here.  Among other things, this guidance confirms that doctors cannot issue fit notes during the first seven calendar days of sickness and, if an employer does require medical evidence during this period, it is up to the employer to arrange and pay for this. 

No Statutory Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure

A recent report published by BIS (Employer Perceptions and the Impact of Employment Regulation) has revealed that even now, four years after their repeal, some employers continue to believe there is a statutory disciplinary and dismissal procedure that needs to be followed.  Although this statutory procedure no longer applies, there is in its place an ACAS Code (Code of Practice 1 - Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures), which should be followed and any failure by an employer to do so may result in an increase in compensation to the employee of up to 25%.  Failure to following the Code itself, however, does not give rise to a standalone claim. 

Major Employment Law Reforms

The Government has revised its implementation timetable for a number of major employment law reforms, many of which were due to come into force in April 2013.  Instead:

  • Summer 2013 should see protected settlement conversations, 12 month earning cap on unfair dismissal compensatory award, revised employment tribunal procedure rules, new tribunal fees and changes to whistleblowing laws come into force
  • Autumn 2013 should see employee shareholder status and TUPE reforms coming into force
  • ACAS early conciliation and employment tribunal penalties for employers are expected to come into force sometime in 2014