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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

01 MAR 2011

March 2011 Legislation Update




April 2011

Equality Act 2010

The overall effect of the Equality Act has been to consolidate all the current discrimination legislation into one Act. The main provisions of the Act came into force in October 2010. From April 2011, provisions dealing with the public sector equality duty and positive action in recruitment come into force. The public sector equality duty replaces the current public sector duties to promote equality with a single equality duty extending to other protected characteristics, meaning public authorities' decision-making processes must consider the need to eliminate discrimination. Positive action provisions permit employers to treat individuals with a protected characteristic more favourably than others for the purposes of recruitment or promotion, where candidates are of equal merit but one is from an under-represented group.

April 2011

Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010

The Regulations confer a new right for employee fathers (and the partners or civil partners of the birth mother) to take additional paternity leave of up to 26 weeks, some of which could be paid, if the mother returns to work. The right applies in respect of children whose expected week of childbirth is on or after 3 April 2011.

April 2011

Apprenticeships, Children and Learning Act 2009

This Act extends the right, which already exists for employees working in organisations with 250 or more employees, to request training or study to those in smaller organisations. From 6 April 2011, all employees will have the right to make a request, which their employer will be obliged to consider seriously. Requests can be refused where there is a good business reason for doing so, on one of the statutory grounds.

April 2011

Equality Act 2010 - abolition of the default retirement age

The government has confirmed its intention to abolish the default retirement age (DRA) of 65 from 1 October 2011. At the same time, the statutory retirement procedures, which allowed employers to retire employees at 65 by giving set notification, will be abolished.

From 6 April 2011, no new notifications of retirement using the statutory procedures may be issued. Any notifications issued before 6 April 2011 but in respect of retirements due to fall after 1 October 2011 (ie where more than six months' notice has been given) will not be valid and the resulting dismissal will be unlawful. Transitional provisions will apply until 1 October, meaning that retirements that were already in train can continue through to completion.

June 2011

Changes to the European Works Council Directive (94/45)

The proposed changes aim to increase the use of European Works Councils 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.

October 2011

Agency Workers Regulations 2010

The Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress reached agreement that agency workers should receive equal rights to comparable permanent workers after 12 weeks. The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will come into force in October 2011.


Bribery Act 2010

This Act replaces the old patchwork of statutory and common law offences with an up-to-date, consolidated set of bribery and corruption offences. It also introduces a new corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery (which is widely defined). Employers will need to prove that they have in place adequate procedures designed to prevent persons associated with them from undertaking prohibited conduct. It was due to come into force in April 2011; however the Ministry of Justice announced in January 2011 that the Act is under review and that its implementation will be delayed until three months after the publication of guidance on the Act. No precise date has yet been given.

August 2012

Directive amending the Working Time Directive (2000/34)

1 August 2012 is the final date for full implementation of the Working Time Directive in relation to junior doctors. The 48-hour week will apply.


Pensions Act

The Pensions Act would give all jobholders aged over 22, earning more than £5,000 a year, access to a workplace pension scheme with minimum employer contribution. The Act 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.


Education and Skills Act 2008

The Act 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.

This new duty to participate will start to come into force after 2013 and there are many details still to be specified in regulations and practice.

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