19. Legal and HR – Monthly updates
At Source we think it’s important to keep you updated with any legal or HR developments that might affect you. So here’s the forthcoming legislation in a nutshell…
Removal of Retirement Age
From 6 April 2011, employers will not be able to issue any further notifications for compulsory retirement under the statutory procedure. Between 6 April and 1 October, only people who were notified before 6 April under the statutory procedure and whose retirement date is before 1 October can be compulsorily retired using the Default Retirement Age. From 1 October, employers will not be able to use the RDA to compulsorily retire employees.
Bribery Act 2010
April 2011will see the Bribery Act 2010 make organisations and their officers liable for acts of bribery committed in the UK and abroad. The Act introduces:
- Two general offences: giving bribes and receiving them
- A separate offence of bribing a foreign public official and
- An offence of failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery
- An individual found guilty of any of the offences is liable for a maximum 10-year imprisonment or a fine, or both.
The Government has announced that it will extend flexible working to parents of children aged 17 from April 2011. On April 2009, the right was extended to parents of children aged 16 and under (18 for parents and carers or disabled children and previously it applied to parents of children under 6). The extension of the right to parents of children aged 17 will give parents of all children, regardless of age or disability, the same right to request flexible working. This will make it simpler for employers and employees to identify whether employees are eligible to make a request.
State Pension Update
The Government has confirmed that it intends to restore the earning linked for the basic State Pension from 2011. From April 2011, pensions will rise each year by earnings, inflation or 2.5%, whichever is the higher.
Expected in March 2012, we will see worker’s rights to parental leave extended from three to four months for each parent. At least one of the four months will not be transferrable between parents to encourage father s to take the leave.
Currently an eligible employee is entitled to up to 13 weeks’ parental leave for each individual child and the leave must normally be taken by the child’s fifth birthday. The new directive covers all workers, regardless of the type of their contract and includes fixed-term, part-time and temporary workers.
The new Directive is to protect workers from discrimination for taking parental leave.
Tier 1 (General) visa’s closure
The Tier (General) category is intended to attract migrants who wish to engage in highly skilled employment in the UK. The fundamental benefit of obtaining a Tier 1 (General) visa is flexibility, as the candidate would be free to seek any type of employment during the duration of the visa without having a sponsor. This obviously makes the candidate more marketable in the UK as it reduces the burden on the employer. However, the Tier 1 (General) route will be closing as of April 2011. Candidates, should they meet the requirements of the visa (80 points) are advised to apply for a Tier 1 (General) visa as soon as possible before it closes.
According the HR Zone’s recent email alert, the fourth Monday in January is “Blue Monday” and as such should be disliked above all other days because it has been declared the most depressing day of the year!