The following is a calendar* of dates that trade unions and their members may find helpful.

It covers deadlines for responding to government consultations and the dates when various changes in legal provisions become effective.

January 2012

31st - The government consultation on Collective Redundancy Consultation Rules closes on 31 January (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).

31st - The government consultation on the Effectiveness of transfer of undertakings (protection of employment - TUPE) Regulations 2006 closes on 31 January (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).

February 2012

1st - New compensation limits come into force on 1 February 2012 (for details see LELR 250). These include an increase on the cap on a week's pay from £400 to £430; and the maximum compensatory award from £68,400 to £72,300.

End - Low Pay Commission due to publish its recommendations for changes to the national minimum wage from October 2012 at the end of February.

March 2012

6th - The government consultation on Introducing Fees in employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal closes on 6 March (Ministry of Justice).

8th - European Union member states have to increase the amount of unpaid parental leave for employees from three to four months by 8 March.

April 2012

1st - The rate for statutory maternity, paternity, adoption pay and maternity allowance will increase from £128.73 to £135.45; statutory sick pay will increase from £81.60 to £85.85 on 1 April.

6th – The Lower Earnings Limits for national insurance contributions will increase from £102 to £107 on 6 April.

6th - The qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal goes up from one to two years on 6 April.

6th - The maximum amount of a costs order which Tribunal can award increases from £10,000 to £20,000.

6th – The amount of a deposit Order which a Tribunal can award as a condition to continuing with an Employment Tribunal claim increases from £500 to £1,000.

June 2012

The late May bank holiday has been moved to 4 June, with an additional bank holiday on 5 June 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

October 2012

The Pensions Act 2008 requires employers with 120,000 or more employees in a PAYE scheme to start automatically enrolling employees into a qualifying pension scheme, unless the person opts out

Additional changes

Below are some of the additional changes to the law announced by the government which are still under consideration:

  • "Closing the loophole" in whistleblowing law whereby a complaint about a breach of the employment contract itself can be protected
  • Simplifying compromise agreements by introducing pro forma agreements
  • Requiring all claims to be submitted to ACAS for pre-claim conciliation
  • Introducing financial penalties for employers who lose at Tribunal, with a minimum threshold of £100 and a maximum level of £5,000
  • Consulting on "protected conversations" so that “a boss and an employee feel able to sit down together and have a frank conversation - at either's request" (read Thompsons response to this proposal)
  • Reviewing the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 in 18 months' time
  • Simplifying the 17 pieces of National Minimum Wage legislation into one set of Regulations.

*This calendar was correct at time of publication.