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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

02 MAR 2009

March 2009 Legislation Update




By end of 2008

Education and Skills Bill

The Bill received Royal Asset on 26 November 2008 and obliges employers in England and Wales to release young people for education or training, and check whether a young person is participating in education or training before employing them.

The new duty to participate post the age of 16 years old will not start to come into force until 2013 and there are many details still to be specified in regulations and practice.

Spring 2009

Employment Act

The overall effect of the Employment Act is to strengthen and clarify key aspects of employment law. The Act received Royal Assent in November 2008. The provisions contained in the Act include the repeal of the statutory dispute resolution procedures and the implementation of a package of replacement measures to encourage early/informal resolution; a clarification and strengthening of the enforcement framework for the National Minimum Wage; and a strengthening of the employment agency standards enforcement regime.

The Statutory dispute and resolution procedures will be repeated in April 2009.

1 April 2009

Working Time
(Amendment) Regulations 2007

These amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 to provide for an increased entitlement to annual leave. From 1 October 2007 the entitlement to four weeks increased to 4.8 weeks (24 days for full-time workers). The second increase in the holiday entitlement to bring it up to a maximum of 28 days will occur on 1 April 2009.

April 2009

Extension of right
to request Flexible working

The right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children up to the age of 16. The Government has stated that it will consult on how this is to be implemented.

October 2009

Safeguarding Vulnerable
Adults Act 2006

The Act introduces a single vetting system for checking the suitability of potential employees to work with children and vulnerable adults. The new scheme aims to avoid harm, or risk of harm, to children and vulnerable adults, and will aim to do this by preventing those who are deemed unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults from gaining access to them through their work. The scheme will be phased in from October 2009.

Included in the

Government's legislative programme for 2008/2009

Equality Bill

The overall effect of what will become the Single Equality Act is to consolidate all the current discrimination legislation into one Act. The Act will also, amongst other things, extend to positive action in certain limited circumstances and outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods and services. The new Equality Bill is expected to come into force in 2010.


Temporary Agency
Workers Directive

The CBI and TUC reached agreement that agency workers should receive equal rights to comparable permanent workers after 12 weeks. The text of the draft Temporary Workers Directive has been agreed in the Council of the European Union and approved by the European Parliament. The Directive must be implemented into UK law and take effect within three years.


Changes to the Working Time


The 48-hour maximum working week opt-out has so far been retained, but new safeguards include preventing workers from opting out in the first month of employment, a cap of 60 working hours and measures relating to ‘active' and ‘inactive' call time.


Changes to the
European Works
Councils Directive

The proposed changes aim to increase the use of EWCs and address the lack of certainty currently found in some parts of the Directive. The proposed means to achieve this include new definitions of information and consultation, and an obligation that arrangements for informing and consulting employees must be defined and implemented to ensure the effectiveness of the procedure and decision making.

By April 2010

Work and Families Act

The government proposes to extend maternity and adoption pay from 9 to 12 months, as well as introducing additional paternity leave and pay by the end of this Parliament. Additional paternity leave and pay will entitled employed fathers up to 26 weeks additional paternity leave, some of which could be paid, if the mother returns to work.


Right to request training

A right to request training will be available for all employees who have been employed for not less than 26 weeks. The right will work in a similar way to the right to request flexible working. The Government is currently consulting on the details of the new right.

1 August 2012

Directive amending the
Working Time Directive
(No 2000/34)

Final date for full implementation of the Working Time Directive in relation to junior doctors. The 48- hour week will apply.


Pensions Bill

The Pensions Bill would give all employees aged over 22, earning more than £5,000 a year, access to a workplace pensions scheme with minimum employer contribution. The Bill proposes automatic enrolment into a qualifying scheme from 2012 and the introduction of the new personal accounts scheme for those employers who do not currently operate a pension scheme.

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