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Employment Bulletin – May 2014

ACAS Early Conciliation
As of 6 May 2014, it became compulsory to notify ACAS of most proposed Employment Tribunal claims before a claim is made.

After the notification to ACAS, an independent conciliation officer will contact the parties to try to resolve the dispute quickly, without the matter having to proceed to an Employment Tribunal. ACAS will liaise with the parties' representatives, if they wish this.

For up to one calendar month, the officer must try to promote a settlement between the parties. If settlement is not reached, the officer must issue a certificate which will allow a claim to be made to the Employment Tribunal.

New financial penalty against employers
From 6 April 2014, Employment Tribunals will have a discretion to order an employer to pay a financial penalty if they are found to have breached employment rights in an aggravated way.

Any penalty will be payable to the Government, in addition to any compensation due to the employee. The starting point for deciding the amount of any penalty is 50% of the compensation awarded, subject to a minimum penalty of £100 and maximum of £5,000. A discount of 50% will apply for early payment.

Statutory Sick pay - New Health and Work Service
As of 6 April 2014, employers can no longer reclaim Statutory Sick Pay from the Government. Previously, employers could reclaim any amount which exceeded 13% of its National Insurance Contributions in the month.

The money saved by this change will be put towards a new Health and Work Service. The Service is designed to provide an early medical assessment of an absent employee with the aim of facilitating an early return to the workplace.

Changes to rehabilitation periods
Changes to rehabilitation periods came into force in March 2014.

Under the changes, rehabilitation periods for custodial sentences and community orders now include the period of the sentence plus an additional period.

After the rehabilitation period, individuals are not required to disclose criminal convictions when applying for a job. However, for those individuals who apply to work in a sensitive workplace, they will continue to have to disclose previous convictions.

Please note that not all changes or developments in employment law can be covered by these bulletins. If you require any advice in relation to these or other employment issues please do not hesitate to contact us.

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