Employment law changes in 2014 that every employer needs to be aware of

Sarah-Varani-150x150Employment law changes regularly. To avoid employment tribunals and fines, make sure your company is up-to-date and compliant with the regulations; read our guide to what’s coming-up in 2014.

January
•    Pensions auto-enrolment – by the start of 2014 if you have 350-499 employees you will be expected to offer a qualifying pension scheme.
•    Bulgarian and Romanian nationals – from 1 January had their restrictions on working in any EU member state lifted.
•    Transfer of undertakings – from 31 January there were changes to the TUPE Regulations.

March
•    National Minimum Wage – from 7 March the penalties for non-payment of this rose substantially. BIS has published information on the new penalties.
•    Spent convictions – from 10 March the period during which potential employees need to disclose certain convictions to you was reduced. The Ministry of Justice has published guidance on these changes.
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Hands off its mine!!! An update on the legal status of prenuptial agreements

Sarah-Varani-150x150Currently couples can make nuptial agreements before or during their marriage or civil partnership to set out how their property and finances will be dealt with if they were to separate or divorce.

Although the courts in the UK have begun to recognise the validity and importance of prenuptial agreements in “the right circumstances” following the landmark case of Katrin Radmacher and Nichols Granatino in 2010 (where the Supreme Court said that their prenuptial agreement should be given “decisive weight”), there is no guarantee that such agreements will be upheld creating uncertainty for both parties.

However, the Law Commission published a report, Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements on 27 February 2014 and recommended amongst other things that prenuptial agreements should be legally enforceable after the needs of the parties and any children have been met.

The report includes the draft” Nuptial Agreements Bill” which if passed will make “qualifying prenuptial agreements” legally binding.
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The End is Nigh for Distress: the new CRAR Regime is rolling on in

Debbie-Haskell-150x150On the 6th of April 2014 a commercial landlord’s right to levy distraint or distress, where their tenant is in rent arrears will be abolished when Part 3 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 is expected to become law.

This will have an immediate impact on commercial landlords who currently are in a stronger position to recover rent compared to their residential landlord’s counterparts. Exercising the common law remedy of distress is – or was – a fast, cheap and effective method of ensuring that rent was received. The threat of sending the bailiffs round ensures an immediate impact on tenants who are incentivised to communicate and deal with the landlord.

The legislation is not purely aimed at commercial landlords and forms part of wider reforms aimed at unifying the various areas of law impacting on the seizure of goods and their sale. Measures have also been implemented in conjunction with this for ‘transforming bailiff action’. It is the governments aim to do away with what it describes as the current complex and occasionally confusing regime by replacing it with one which creates a clear framework of procedures.
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