Changes ahead regarding Employment Law, VAT and
During the past 12 months there have been several significant developments regarding Employment Law, VAT and Company Law in the UK. More of the same can be expected in the year to come.
The most significant area of change is that of Employment Law.
The Disclosure and Barring Service is to introduce online criminal record checks. This means that once employees have registered, their details can be updated in real-time and therefore they will not need to re-register if they move to another job.
Radical reforms to the rehabilitation periods defining when a conviction becomes spent will come into force later in the year. Rehabilitation periods will be drastically reduced but will only take effect once the sentence has been served.
There will be widespread reform of the Tribunals Service including; the introduction of 'lodging fees' and 'hearing fees' from July 2013; some minor cases being decided by a Legal Officer instead of a Judge; new rules on the role of Acas and compromise agreements; and the possibility of a punitive sanction of up to £5,000 on employers who behave in an 'aggravating' manner during a dispute.
There will be an increase in the right to unpaid parental leave from 13 weeks to 18 weeks, effective from 8th March.
A new type of employment contract will be introduced that will enable employers to offer employees a shareholding in the company in exchange for waiving certain employment rights.
The consultation period for redundancies of more than 100 employees will be reduced from 90 to 45 days.
The regulations regarding VAT invoicing will change in several respects. These changes are intended to simplify and harmonise the rules across European Union (EU) member states. HMRC have released a technical note summarising the changes, which can be seen here.
Last week, HMRC launched the ‘VAT Outstanding Returns' campaign which is aimed at businesses that have not submitted their VAT Returns. The campaign indicates that those businesses who fail to submit their returns on time will be more aggressively pursued in future, leading to an increase in VAT visits and investigations.
January has also seen the usual changes in VAT rates within some EU countries. Rates are increasing by 1% in Finland, Czech Republic and Cyprus.
Company Directors and Company Secretaries also need to be aware of some changes that are due to be implemented this year.
The government intends to reform the way that charges are registered. From 6th April 2013 it will not be necessary for companies to keep a register of charges but copies of instruments creating a charge must be kept for inspection. A single unified scheme will be introduced throughout the UK to replace the separate schemes that currently exist.
There will be further changes regarding directors' remuneration in quoted companies with shareholders being given the power to approve or disapprove directors' pay. Further changes are expected that will give shareholders a binding vote on pay policy and exit payments as well as new rules to increase transparency.
No doubt there will be further proposals and developments throughout the year. UK Training's VAT, Company Law, Employment Law and Finance seminars are continually updated to reflect the latest changes so keep checking the website and ensure that your organisation is meeting all its legal obligations.