UK employment law faces another overhaul in 2010. Here's a rundown of the top 10 biggest changes affecting you and yours:
1. Increase in the Default Retirement Age
The current Default Retirement Age (DRA) stands at 65. Most commentators, however, expect the Government to increase the DRA later this year. In October 2009, following the Heyday case, the Government began a public consultation on the DRA.
2. Equality Act
The Equality Act will become law in October. The Act introduces groundbreaking new laws which will help narrow the gap between rich and poor; require businesses to report on gender pay; allow businesses to positively discriminate in recruiting and promoting people from under-represented minority groups (as long as they are as well qualified for the job as the other candidates); and significantly strengthen and harmonise UK anti-discrimination law.
3. Equal rights for agency workers
Under the EU Agency Workers Directive, which should be introduced into UK law this spring, Britain's 1.3 million agency workers will have the right to the same pay, holidays and basic conditions of employment as permanent staff doing the same kind of work after serving a twelve-week service qualification period. For more information, read: Work status & rights in the workplace.
4. Additional paternity Leave
Additional paternity leave will be introduced in April 2010, but it will only apply to parents of babies born on or after 3 April 2011. Currently, employed fathers are entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave and mothers to 52 weeks maternity leave (of which up to 39 weeks are paid). Under the new law, mothers would be able to transfer the final 26 weeks of their maternity leave to the father once the mother has returned to work.
5. Statutory payments
In April, the weekly earnings threshold for statutory adoption, maternity, paternity, and sick pay will increase from £95 to £97. And statutory adoption, maternity, and paternity pay and maternity allowance will increase from £123.06 per week to £124.88 per week. (NB. the rate of statutory sick pay will remain at £79.15 per week.)
[Continued in Top 10 employment law changes in 2010 - part 2.]