What's new?

  • From 1 April, small businesses (companies with fewer than 10 employees) and genuine start up businesses are exempt from new domestic regulations for three years. This does not affect the changes set out below, which came into force this month.
  • Additional paternity/adoption leave is available for the parents of babies born or matched for adoption on or after 3 April 2011.
  • The increase in the weekly rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay, maternity allowance and statutory sick pay took effect from the week commencing 11 April.
  • The provisions of the Equality Act 2010 relating to the new public sector equality duty came into force on 5 April and those relating to positive action in recruitment and promotion on 6 April 2011.  New statutory Codes of Practice, providing guidance for employers on complying with the provisions of the Equality Act also came into force on 6 April 2011.
  • The abolition of the default retirement age took effect from 6 April 2011, subject to transitional provisions.
  • Changes to the operation of PAYE that impact on the tax treatment of termination payments were effective from 6 April 2011.
  • A permanent migration cap restricting the number of certain non-EU migrants allowed to enter the UK to work was imposed from 6 April 2011.
  • Changes to the tax treatment of employer-supported childcare and childcare vouchers, restricting tax relief to basic rate for new joiners, also came into force on 6 April 2011.

What's not?

The following planned changes will no longer be coming into force in April:

  • The right to request flexible working will not be extended to parents of children under 18 years of age. The right continues to exist only for parents of children under 17 (or under 18 if the child is disabled).
  • The right to request time off for training will not be extended to employees of small employers. The right continues to exist only for employees working for companies with 250 or more employees.
  • The dual discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which would have given claimants the ability to bring a claim in relation to a combination of two protected characteristics, will no longer be taken forward.
  • Implementation of the Bribery Act 2010 has been delayed until July 2011.
  • Specific public sector equality duties have been postponed until July 2011.

What's coming next?

  • The Government announced in the Budget that it will consult on the removal of what it refers to as the "unworkable requirement" in the Equality Act 2010 for employers to prevent harassment of their staff by third parties.
  • The Government also announced that the public will have the opportunity to participate in its "Red Tape Challenge" - a wide-scale review of regulations and legislation to identify those that are "excessively burdensome" or impede business growth (see News round up for more information).

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