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Employment Law - The continuous changing world

Author: Joan Finch Published: 20th September 2013 09:16

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Keep up to date with the latest employment law changes

Because Employment Law is constantly changing it is essential to review your company policies on a regular basis in order to keep up to date with current legislation. Following on from the previous article which covered the Introduction of Employment Tribunal Fees, a number of other Employment Law changes came into force.  This article will cover other changes introduced at the end of July 2013.

Compromise Agreement renamed Settlement Agreement

Changing the name to Settlement Agreement reflects better what the document is in principle. ACAS have issued new guidelines to support the introduction of the new Agreement.   There are a number of key changes and Settlement Agreements are still a complex area of employment law, which prior to undertaking any "Without Prejudice" conversation you must ensure you have sought legal advice.

Reduced Cap on Compensatory Award

If a Claimant (ex-employee) is successful in winning an Unfair Dismissal claim against its previous employer the Claimant would receive a financial award as part of the outcome.  There are a number of elements to the award with one being a compensatory element.  The Employment Judge residing on the Claim will decide the compensatory element using for example the authority cases of British Home Stores Ltd V Burchell 1978 commonly known as the Burchell test or Polkey v AE Dayton Services Ltd 1988 commonly known as the Polkey reduction

As of the 29th July 2013 the compensatory element has been capped to an individual cap of 12 months' pay.  This individual cap will apply when this amount is less than the overall cap of £74,200.

New Employment Tribunal Rules

A number of new rules come into effect for example pre hearing reviews and case management discussions have now been replaced with Preliminary Hearings.  The Preliminary Hearing Judges have been given more powers, with the main ones being they can strike out weak cases, which previously was not the case with Case Management Discussions and also encourage parties to use alternative dispute resolutions.

National Minimum Wage Increase

To allow you to plan ahead the new increases come into effect as of the 1st October, 2013.  The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you're an apprentice - you must be at school leaving age to get it.  A school leaver is a pupil who has left school on the last Friday in June, as long as they have turned 16 by the end of that school year's summer holidays

The previous year's freeze of some age groups has now been lifted, please see new limits below:


21 and over

18 to 20

Under 18


2013 (from 1 October)





2012 (current rate)
















*This rate is for apprentices under 19 or those in their first year. If you're 19 or over and past your first year you get the rate that applies to your age.

If you are in the process of dealing with Employee Relations issues or are concerned as your business does not have all the necessary contracts of employment and policies in place to reduce the risk of an Employment Tribunal Claim; or wish to ensure that your company is fully compliant and up to date when dealing with Employee Relations issues and all areas of employment law, then please click here to refer to our website and service available to support your business. 

In our next article we will cover Undertaking a Disciplinary Investigation.

Article by Joan Finch of J Finch & Associates Ltd

Thanks to Joan our new AboutMyArea/EN9 editorial contributor for her third informative article, we look forward to regular articles throughout the year on Employment Law and HR issues. Check out Employment Law section in the Business Zone for more of her articles.

Joan is an award winning, highly experienced, commercial, self-motivated HR professional who has operated within the sectors of Retail, Hospitality and Catering, specialising in Employees Relations. Joan is now the proud owner and creator of J Finch & Associates Ltd.  Joan's career spans over 10 years, and has broad experience within Human Resources, with initially being a HR generalist covering all aspect of HR from Recruitment, learning and development, training, Employee Relations, redundancy, restructures and TUPE. Since 2008 she has specialised in Employee Relations applying a commercial and practical approach to all ER related issues.

For more information on Human Resources, Employee Relationship and Employment Law issues you may like to take a look at J Finch & Associates website: http://www.jfinch.co.uk/


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