October 2007

Major changes ahead in UK employment law...

Employment law in the UK has seen many significant changes throughout 2007. Several of the most important changes were introduced on 1st October and there are further changes still to come that will have a substantial impact on UK employers.

The minimum statutory holiday entitlement has been increased from 4 weeks to 4.8 weeks - 20 days to 24 days for a full time employee. This will be increased further to 5.6 weeks in April 2009. These changes have been introduced to ensure that all workers will receive 20 days annual leave plus, eventually, 8 bank holidays. Employers that already guarantee this minimum entitlement will be unaffected by the legislation.

The period for which mothers are entitled to statutory paid maternity leave has increased from 6 to 9 months with a further 3 months entitlement unpaid. This will be extended to 12 months paid leave in 2010, a year which also sees a substantial extension to paid and unpaid paternity leave.

There have also been extensions to the right to flexible working for people with responsibility for caring for a dependent and for a wider group of adoptive parents.

A total ban on smoking in the workplace has now been introduced and has led to many difficulties for employers in managing compliance and disciplinary issues.

The newly established Commission for Equality and Human Rights has assumed the statutory powers of the Commission for Racial Equality, The Disability Rights Commission and The Equal Opportunities Commission. This new body will have more powers to bring prosecutions and also police the compliance of public sector employers with equality legislation.

The Government has also undertaken a review of the Employment Tribunals system that is likely to see the replacement of Tribunal Chairmen with Employment Judges and the abolition of the Statutory Disciplinary and Dismissals Procedure (DDP).

UK Training's seminar, Employment Law - A Survival Guide for Employers, carefully explains everything you need to know in order to meet your legal obligations under UK employment law. Please click here to book a place now.

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