New Statutory Figures
The annual increase in compensation limits have been confirmed. The limits apply to dismissals (redundancies or detriments etc.) occurring on or after 6th April 2018.
- £508.00 – the maximum amount of a week’s pay for calculating statutory redundancy pay and the basic award; (up from £489.00)
- £15,240.00 – the maximum statutory redundancy payment or basic award, i.e. 30 weeks (up from £14,670.00);
- £83,682.00 – the maximum compensatory award which can be made for unfair dismissal (up from £80,541.00) or one year’s gross pay whichever is the lower
These increases mean that the maximum total unfair dismissal award is now £98,922.00, although uplifts can add a further 25%.
Employees may be entitled to receive guarantee payments for up to five days of lay-off in any three-month period. The maximum amount of such a statutory guarantee payment will increase to £28.00 (from £27.00) for any one day.
The new rates take effect where the ‘appropriate date’ for the cause of action (such as the date of termination in an unfair dismissal claim) falls on or after 6th April 2018. If the appropriate date falls before 6th April, the old limits will still apply, irrespective of the date on which compensation is awarded.
Fit for Work – No more
From 15th December 2017, ‘Fit for Work’ has no longer been running its referral and assessment service. Free, professional advice is available in a number of ways. All of the advice and guidance elements of ‘Fit for Work’ remain in place, as the website (the most highly used aspect of the service) and helpline remain open.
The service was part of the Government’s efforts to find solutions to keep people in work (and off benefits). Reforms to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be set out in a separate consultation paper, to include proposals designed to allow greater flexibility in the payment of SSP (for example, to support phased returns to work).
The ‘Fit for Work’ service was meant to aid employees who have been absent for more than four weeks, and to plug the gap in access to Occupational Health services. It was conceived just over two years ago as a way to boost medical interventions, by allowing employees to be targeted by GPs by referring them for ‘specialist help’. The scheme never really took off and has now been scrapped due to low take-up rates. Given that a survey in August showed that 65% of GPs had not referred a single patient and of those that had, only 40% had seen someone return to work.
We were never fans as we doubted whether the Government could attract and retain good quality staff that would actually see people, and make considered individually tailored recommendations that were reasonably practicable. We would nearly always recommend to employers that they use a reputable professional OH service to review the health and work of sick employees. We always advise clients that asking employee’s GPs for a report is unlikely to be too helpful, as the quality of response is often poor, reflecting their lack of knowledge about the employer’s jobs/environment.
- There is no need to have a retained OH provider but it is useful to know of one (or know someone who does)
- Conduct return to work interviews which should pick up if people are returning to work when not fully fit
- Do not let people drift once they have gone beyond four weeks of absence; get them referred to a reputable OH provider
- Ensure that you give an OH provider a clear and realistic brief.
We would be pleased to recommend a good quality OH provider to employers who need this assistance.
Looking Ahead – Payslips
Arising from the Taylor Review into modern working practices, the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) Order 2018 has been laid before Parliament. This is a small but important amendment, which will require employers to set out on payslips the number of hours that an employee is being paid for; and where different hourly rates apply for different hours, to specify this. Where an employee’s pay varies as a consequence of the time worked, their itemised pay statement must contain information about the number of hours worked. This should make it easier for employees to understand what they have been paid for – and whether they have been underpaid.
We believe this is because the current legislation focuses on deductions, but for many people with variable hours, the difficulty lies in calculating gross figures.
The Order doesn’t come into force until 6th April 2019 so employers have plenty of time to prepare.
Our Consultants would be pleased to answer questions on any of the above, or you can find much of the data on our website, by clicking on Frequently Asked Questions.