New employment–related legislation comes into force twice a year – in April and October. Here is a reminder of the changes that will take effect from April 2005.
1. Information and Consultation
The Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 come into force on 6 April 2005 and will impact businesses with 150 or more employees. The Regulations will require the establishment of procedures for informing and consulting employees at a national level if an employee request is made by at least 10% of employees in the organisation. Information and Consultation arrangements may be designed to suit the organisation’s circumstances, but standard provisions will apply as a fallback if no agreement is reached.
|2. Pensions and TUPE|
The Transfer of Employment (Pension Protection) Regulations 2005 come into force on 6 April 2005. The Regulations provide that, on a TUPE transfer, where transferring employees had access to occupational pension benefits with employer contributions before the transfer, the transferee employer must offer the employees membership of an occupational pension scheme or of a stakeholder arrangement with minimum employer contributions.
The Regulations provide that transferee employers will be required, as a minimum, to provide a Defined Contribution scheme into which they make matching contributions of up to 6%. If employers wish to provide a Defined Benefit scheme, then the situation is more complicated. Our Pensions Department would be pleased to provide further information on these changes if required.
Please note that the protection afforded by the Regulations will apply to all TUPE transactions that are completed on or after 6 April 2005.
|3. Implementation of further sections of the Employment Relations Act 2004|
From 6 April 2005 further sections of the Employment Relations Act 2004 come into force. Changes include:
- amendments to the statutory procedure by which trade unions obtain recognition for collective bargaining purposes;
- provisions to increase protection against dismissal for employees taking official industrial action; and
- a right for employees not to be dismissed or subjected to a detriment because of being summoned for jury duty.
|4. Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay|
As you know, statutory dispute resolution procedures came into force on 1 October 2004, providing for employers and employees to follow minimum internal disciplinary and grievance procedures. An employee who has been dismissed may be reinstated as a result of an appeal against dismissal. If this happens, their employment is treated as having been unbroken and so continuous.
From 6 April 2005 new regulations will make it clear that if an employee is reinstated or re-engaged their employment will be treated as continuous to determine if the employee has enough qualifying service to be eligible to receive Statutory Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Pay.
|5. Increase in the standard rates of Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay|
From Sunday 3 April 2005 the standard rates of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay will increase from £102.80 to £106 per week (or 90% of the person’s average weekly earnings if that is less than £106).
|6. Tribunal forms – postponed!|
In Employment Alert No. 88, we reported that from 6 April 2005 the new Tribunal Claim Form and Response Form should be used. However, the Government has decided to postpone this deadline until 1 October 2005.