The New Year brings with it a raft of changes to the law. Here is a brief overview of the key legislation which may affect you personally, or your business.
The VAT rate has increased from 17.5% to 20% on January 4th.
Additional paternity leave and pay
On April 3rd, provisions allowing fathers to take additional paternity leave of up to 26 weeks, subject to certain conditions, will come into force.
Default retirement age
From April 6th, employers will not be able to give any further workers reaching the default retirement age notification to retire. Notifications issued prior to April 6th will only take effect up to October 1st. After that, default retirement ages can only be used if they are objectively justified.
National Insurance contributions are set to increase by 1% in April for all those earning over £20,000.
The Bribery Act is due to come into force in April. This will, among other provisions, create a new offence of ‘failure by a commercial organisation to prevent a bribe being paid for or on its behalf’.
Public sector equality duty
The parts of the Equality Act containing the Public Sector Equality Duty are due to be implemented in April. These are designed to eliminate discrimination in local government and public sector organisations.
As of April, more workers will be able to take advantage of flexible working conditions. At present only parents of children under 17, disabled children under 18 and carers have this right but it will be extended to all parents of children under 18.
In October, the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 are due to come into force. These will guarantee agency workers that have worked for 12 weeks in a job, the same basic terms of conditions of employment as equivalent directly hired workers in broadly similar roles. Basic conditions include salary and overtime pay, rest breaks and holiday entitlement.