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2014 – a year of employment law changes

A Lancashire legal adviser is warning employers of a raft of employment law changes which will impact businesses during 2014.

Claire Haworth, Employment solicitor at Lancashire law firm Napthens, warns that employment legislation is high on the Government’s agenda with a number of key developments planned for the next 12 months.

The changes affect areas of the law including discrimination, sickness absence and equal pay.

Claire points to changes in pensions, holiday pays and mandatory conciliation for employment tribunal claims as three of the key changes.

She explained: “Red tape is a real burden for many businesses, particularly SMEs, and it is important for business owners to be aware of 2014’s big changes to ensure their companies are operating as they should.

“First up is the changes to pensions – employers running a business of a certain size, between 59 and 500 employees as of April 2012, will need to automatically enrol staff into a pension scheme and make contributions to it this year.

“Holiday pay will also see some big changes. Recent legal decisions, subject to further challenge, suggest that holiday pay calculations should include regular overtime worked and sales commission usually earned. If upheld, this could fundamentally change the way employers calculate holiday pay, and give rise to mass claims for under-payments.

“Finally, from April 6 it will become mandatory for every claim pursued through an employment tribunal to be submitted to ACAS for conciliation first. The employment tribunal system is overloaded and this is an attempt to reduce the number of claims.

“2014 brings with it major changes to the already complex employment legislation which businesses face, and it is vital for employers to know their responsibilities.”