A Peninsula guide: 2011 employment law changes

31st of March, 2011 Bookmark and Share

April 2011 will bring in a few alterations to employment law legislation. Here are a few examples that companies would do well to take note of.

Transferring maternity leave

Mothers can now forfeit up to six months of their maternity leave for babies due on or after 3 April 2011. This can be reassigned to the father of the baby, or the mother's partner in same sex relationships. Up to 6 months of additional paternity leave (APL) can therefore be taken by fathers, or mothers' partners meeting certain conditions. Although it is additional to the current entitlement to 2 weeks' paternity leave, all leave has to be taken in one unbroken block.

Promotion and recruitment

Coming into force on 6th April 2011 are some positive action provisions concerning promotion and recruitment, which were set out in the Equality Act 2010. If people with a protected characteristic are underrepresented in the workplace, employers can now treat an individual with this characteristic more favourably when recruiting or promoting.

Candidates being equally qualified is one of several conditions necessary for positive action to be permissible. For example, if two applicants turn out to be evenly matched after interviews, and one of them is of an ethnic minority currently underrepresented in the company, the employer may choose to offer the job to that candidate on the grounds of their race. Employers are not under obligation to use positive action; using it is purely voluntary.

Compulsory retirement

The statutory retirement procedure and default retirement age (DRA) will be gradually phased out, between now and 2013. The planned regulations repealing current legislation were recently published, with the result that companies will be unable to issue any further notifications for compulsory retirement citing the DRA. However, before the implementation date these regulations might be changed or updated because they are currently just in draft form.

Peninsula is a leading provider of employers law guidance, tax services and health and safety for businesses. There is also a small business employment law service for businesses with five employees or less.

If you are a member of the media and need any further assistance, would like to discuss case studies for a particular feature, or be added to our media contact list, feel free to contact Sammual-James McLoughlin, Head of Media, Press and Public Relations at Peninsula Business Services.

Website: http://www.peninsula-uk.com/

Sammual-James McLoughlin
Sammual-James McLoughlin is Head of Media, Press & Public Relations at Peninsula Business Services. If you are a member of the media and need any further assistance, or want to be added to our media contact list, feel free to contact me.