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28th January 2014

2014 – The Year Ahead in Employment Law

As with any other year, there are many changes expected in the field of Employment Law over the next 12 months.  In order to ensure that you are fully aware of what changes to expect in the next few months, we have set out a brief summary below.

31 January 2014

  • Changes to TUPE 2006 are planned to come into force.

6 April 2014

  • Discrimination questionnaires to be abolished.
  • Mandatory pre-claim Acas conciliation will be introduced.
  • Financial penalties for losing employers to be imposed by tribunals.
  • The right to request flexible working will be brought in under the Children and Families Bill 2012-13.
  • Abolition of Statutory Sick Pay record-keeping in favour of giving employers the discretion to use a system which suits them.

We intend to report on each of the proposed changes as they are introduced throughout the course of the year, however as the changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 are due to come into force on 31 January 2014, we have set out below the changes that the new regulations are likely to introduce.

The key changes are:

  • In relation to pre-transfer collective consultation, a new clause 198A of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act will make it clear that during a TUPE situation the transferee can elect to carry out pre-transfer consultation, and can cancel that election, but cannot then make another election.
  • In relation to both dismissals and changes to terms, the phrase “if the reason for the [variation/dismissal] is the transfer” has been amended to read “sole or principal reason”. This is the terminology currently used in TUPE 2006.
  • The increase in the period in which the transferor must provide employee liability information will apply to transfers that take place on or after 1 May 2014 – however, the changes to the obligations to inform and consult for micro-businesses will only apply to transfers that take place on or after 31 July 2014.

In order to assist interested parties, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published a revised guide to TUPE, updated to take account of the changes being made by the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which also come into force on 31 January 2014.

The new guide is based on the previous BIS guidance which was published in June 2009, but has been updated to take account of changes in the law since that date. It has also been expanded in several areas, including the sections on:

  • Service provision changes;
  • Transfers in the public sector; and
  • Pension rights on a TUPE transfer.

The revised guide to TUPE is available from the following URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tupe-a-guide-to-the-2006-regulations

 

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