TUPE Reform TUPE will be scaled back by new legislation coming into effect in January 2014. The definition of service provision change will be tightened, employment liability information will have to be provided to the new company earlier than it is now, and a change to the work location will count as an acceptable reason to dismiss an employee because of the transfer. Other changes are also planned. Early Conciliation From April 2014, individuals wanting to bring a tribunal claim will have an obligation to inform Acas first, in which case conciliation will be offered. Claims will no longer be made directly to the tribunal. If conciliation proves unsuccessful, the individual can continue with their tribunal claim. Revision of Financial Assistance for Employers of Reservists The Government has committed to amending legislation to ensure that, by April 2014, the financial assistance provided to employers of army reserves are ‘appropriate and streamlined’. Flexible Working From April 2014, the right to request flexible working will be opened to all employees with 26 weeks’ service, removing the current restriction to those with children under 17 and those with caring responsibilities. The statutory process will also be removed, as will all of the deadlines by which meetings/decisions have to take place. Employers will instead have to consider the request in a ‘reasonable manner’ and within a ‘reasonable time’. Refusal will still be an option for employers. Financial Penalties From April 2014, tribunals will have the power to order employers who lose a claim against them at tribunal to pay a fine to the exchequer, with a minimum of £100. This will be in addition to the award made to the claimant, and the fee reimbursement. Amendments to the Equality Act 2010 Statutory questionnaires used in discrimination claims will be removed from April 2014. These previously allowed claimants to gather information which could be used as evidence. Unfair Dismissal Compensatory Awards The annual change to tribunal compensatory awards has been shifted from February to April; in this month we are also likely to see increases to the rate of statutory guarantee pay and the maximum amount that can count towards a week’s pay for redundancy pay purposes. National Minimum Wage The minimum rates payable to workers normally increases in October each year. Is it possible that in 2014 we will the ‘Living Wage’ (the non-statutory rate that is deemed to be sufficient to live without poverty) having an influence on what is provided in the Minimum Wage? If you would like any further clarification on what changes will be occurring in 2014, please call our advice service on 0844 892 2772.