I’m not referring to the five inches of snow outside as I write this, and the inevitable disruption caused to roads and railways for the next week, but instead I am considering what the main statutory changes affecting employment law issues in 2010 will be.
Not much will happen this month while everyone looks in astonishment at their credit card bills, but just a reminder that the Vento guidelines on awards to be made in cases of injury to feelings in discrimination cases look to have been increased late last year in the case of Da’Bell v NSPCC. The Court of Appeal case in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police in 2002 set three main bands for ETs to consider when making awards for injury to feelings;
Lower – £500 – 5,000 – for one-off or isolated incidents
Mid - £5,000 – 15,000 – for more serious incidents but not of the most serious nature
Upper -£15,000 – 25,000 – for the worst examples of discriminatory behaviour, such as where there has been a campaign of bullying and harassment. Only exceptionally should awards be made in excess of the upper figure.
Since 2002 these bands have not changed. It is now anticipated that the new bands will be
Lower: £? – 6,000
Mid – £6,000 – 18,000
Upper – £18,000 – 30,000
For a fuller and very helpful discussion see Usefully Employed’s post on the subject.
This month will see something that hasn’t occurred before. The maximum compensatory award that can be made by an Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal will actually decrease. The Employment Rights (Revision of Limits) Order 2009 states that the maximum award will decrease from its current £66,200 to £65,300 for all claims where the event giving rise to the claim occurred on or after 1st February 2010. This is because the maximum amount is linked to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and that fell by 1.4% in the year from 1st September 2008.
The MINIMUM AWARD that can be made to an employee excluded/expelled from a Union and not re-admitted by the time the case reaches an ET falls from £7,300 to £7,200
The maximum guarantee payment to an employee under s.31(1) ERA 1996 decreases to £21.20 per day.
Each February also sees various other rates and limits amended – usually upward. This time though the maximum weekly award, used for Statutory Redundancy Pay purposes and calculating the Basic Award in Unfair Dismissal cases will remain at £380, but only because it was increased to that figure last October.
April – other notable increases, will be
Statutory Adoption }
Paternity } all increase from £123.06 to £124.88 per week
Maternity Pay }
Maternity Allowance }
But, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will remain unchanged at £79.15 p.w
This month will also see employees at employers with at least 250 employees acquire the right to request time off for studying or training relevant to the business. The right is simply to request time off NOT for the employer to fund the training.
Income Tax will rise to 50% for those earning more than £150,000 p.a
Legislative developments tend to occur in April and October now. In October it is expected that the Equality Bill will come into force to hopefully bring some order to the convoluted and confusing plethora of anti-discrimination laws currently on the statute book. It won’t just tackle discrimination in the employment arena, but will be wider ranging. Contractual provisions that prevent employees discussing their pay with workers are expected to be made illegal and the government will acquire the power to force privatre companies to disclose gender-pay details. More on all this in due course, assuming that it survives a change of government
Throughout the year there will be new cases being decided that will make the headlines, or appeals considering cases that caused a stir in 2009. I will cover these as they come up so please subscribe to the RSS feed or to the email updates for “breaking news”.
If you need advice on any employment law issues please call me on 0207 464 8433 or email me at email@example.com.