This year has been particularly busy in terms of both the introduction of new employment law; and amendments to existing rules. New legislation Employee Shareholder Status: Employers are able to offer employment to an individual on a ‘shares for rights’ basis. The employee must receive a minimum £2000 worth of shares in the company and will have no right to claim unfair dismissal; statutory redundancy pay or request time off for study/training. Other rules will also apply differently to them. Pre-termination confidential negotiations: Employers can now offer a settlement agreement (formerly known as compromise agreement) to an employee where there is no existing dispute. Following the statutory code of practice on how to have a confidential negotiation means that the discussion will be inadmissible as evidence at tribunal in a subsequent unfair dismissal claim. Employment Tribunal Fees: Claimants must now pay a fee if they want to bring a tribunal claim. Employers must also pay a fee in relation to some procedural elements of a claim and can be ordered to repay the claimant’s fee if the claimant is successful. No fee is payable if the claimant cannot afford it. Eligibility for Croatian workers in the UK: As a result of Croatia joining the EU, its nationals may come to the UK to work. However, employers must check that the individual has the required leave to work. Amendments to existing legislation Unfair dismissal compensatory cap: The maximum amount that an employee can be awarded for the compensatory element of their unfair dismissal award has been adjusted so that he/she cannot win more than their annual salary, subject to an overall cap of £74,200. Dismissal for political opinion: The qualifying service requirement to bring an unfair dismissal claim has been removed for employees who are claiming they were dismissed because of their political opinion. Protection against a dismissal for this reason is therefore available from day 1 of employment. Protected disclosure/whistleblowing: Disclosures no longer need to make in good faith to be a protected disclosure but they must be made in the public interest. Employers are also vicariously liable for detrimental acts by staff towards employees who have blown the whistle. Portable DBS checks: DBS checks (formerly known as CRB checks) are now portable which means that it is not always necessary for an individual to apply for a new DBS check when moving employment. Instead, a Status Check on the current DBS check can be done for free. Redundancy consultation periods: The minimum period of employee consultation when making 100 or more redundancies in a period of 90 days or less was reduced from 90 to 45 days. Increase to Parental Leave: An employee’s entitlement to parental leave increased from 13 weeks to 18 weeks, to be taken in the first 5 years of the employee’s child’s life. For further clarification or assistance on the issue please contact Peninsula on 0844 892 2772.