A number of key employment laws and legislation came into force on Tuesday 1 October 2013. The changes relate to issues such as third party harassment provisions, executive salaries, national minimum wage and pension protection from TUPE transfers.
The third party harassment provisions contained within s.40 of the Equality Act 2010 have been repealed, meaning that an employer is no longer liable if an individual is harassed by a third party. These provisions have been removed as part of the Government’s ‘red tape’ challenge, which aims to relieve businesses of some of the unnecessary rules and regulations relating to employment law.
Despite the changes, employers could, however, still face other types of claims if a staff member is harassed by a third party, for example, if harassment leads to a constructive unfair dismissal claim.
Proposals from the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) relating to board pay have also come into force today. Changes will see shareholders being given a binding vote on board pay from next year, as well a directors who sign off payments that have not been approved by shareholders being held personally liable. There will also be far greater exposure of board pay, in a bid to ensure greater transparency and engagement between shareholders and companies. Today’s changes will also see the national minimum wage increase by 12p an hour to £6.31.
The last change to be implemented today relates to the amended protection for the pension rights of employees on a TUPE transfer. Prior to today, the transferee was obliged to provide access to a pension scheme, which met certain requirements, and was also required to match pension payments made by the employee, up to a maximum of 6 per cent of that employee’s salary.
From today, the transferee will now have the option of meeting its pension obligations under TUPE by matching their contributions to those paid by the transferor for the relevant employee just prior to the transfer.