Except in relation to discrimination complaints, one can no longer claim legal aid for new employment law cases in England and Wales. This is by virtue of he Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and will take effect from 1 April 2013.
Effectively this abolishes the Legal Help Scheme, which provided public funding for advice and assistance for the preparation of tribunal claims up to, but not including, representation at employment tribunal hearings where claimants met a merits and means test for assistance.
There are further cut back with discrimination cases where service will in future gear towards providing telephone or online advice only, with claimants only receiving face-to-face advice if the provider considers they cannot be advised over the phone or by e-mail.
From the 6th of April certain provision relating to collective redundancies will be amended by virtue of The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Amendment) Order 2013. The amendments are explored below:
First Dismissal Date: Where the employer is proposing to dismiss 100 or more employees as redundant at one establishment within a period of 90 days of less, it was the case that 90 days should elapse before the first dismissal can take place. This has now been amended to a minimum of 45 days.
There is a similar reduction to the minimum period of notice which the employer in such cases must give to the Secretary of State (on the HR1 form) before the first dismissal can take effect;
Expiry of fixed-term contracts is excluded from the statutory provisions dealing with collective redundancies.
These changes apply to proposals to make large-scale redundancies which were made on or after 6 April 2013.
The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2013 have increased the standard rates of:
from £135.45 to £136.78 per week from 7 April 2013.
from £85.85 to £86.70 per week from 6 April 2013.
However the lower earnings limit applying to National Insurance Contributions, below which employees are not entitled to SSP, SMP, OSPP, ASPP and SAP, increased from £107 to £109 per week from 6 April 2013.
If you woudl like further details please call (0116) 2999 199 to speak to our employment law specialist.