This April there was a wide range of changes due to be introduced in employment law.  However, not all of the changes originally proposed for implementation this April will in fact be coming into force.  So, what is and what isn’t happening this April?

What’s not coming into force?

The Bribery Act 2010 will now come into force on 1 July 2011. It has been delayed while the Ministry of Justice develops guidance on how to interpret the rules to address concerns that the Act would effectively criminalise corporate hospitality. At the moment, providing such corporate hospitality in a ‘lavish’ manner with the aim of achieving a commercial advantage will be classed as an offence.

The right to request time off for training will not be extended to those employed by small- and medium-sized employers in order to avoid the disproportionate costs of implementing the right for smaller businesses.

The right to request flexible working will not be extended to parents of children under 18. However, this matter has not been dropped entirely and there are still plans for consultation during 2011 on extending the right to request flexible working for all employees.

What is coming into effect?

Additional Paternity Leave

The Additional paternity leave and pay provisions allowing a new mother to transfer up to 6 months of her maternity leave to the father if she decides to return to work before the end of her leave come into effect for all parents of babies due on or after 3 April 2011.

Notices of Retirement

5 April was the deadline for serving any last notices of retirement – any notice given from 6 April onwards will amount to unlawful age discrimination, unless it can be objectively justified.

Taxation of Termination Payments

A tax break previously available to employees was that, if a post-termination payment (for example, under compromise agreements and bonus schemes) was paid after the employee’s P45 was issued, it was subject to deductions for basic rate tax only.  Higher rate tax payers would then be responsible for accounting to HMRC for the difference at the end of the next tax year.  From 6 April 2011, this is no longer the case and such payments will be taxed at the same rate of tax as the employee was paying during employment, whenever the payment is made

Increases in statutory pay

Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay increased from £124.88 to £128.73 on 3 April 2011.

Statutory sick pay increased from £79.15 to £81.60 on 6 April 2011.

Maternity Allowance increased from £124.88 to £128.73 on 11 April 2011.