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Important new employment law changes are to be introduced with effect of 6th April 2014, warns Angela Shaw of Nottingham based Lanshaws Solicitors.

From 6th April, the maximum compensatory award will rise from the lower of £74,200 or 52 weeks’ pay to the lower of £76,574 or 52 weeks’ pay. The maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating the basic award for an unfair dismissal claim and a statutory redundancy payment will also rise from £450 to £464. This will mean that the maximum statutory redundancy payment for an eligible employee will rise from £13,500 to £13,920.

The changes were revised to reflect the Retail Price Index increase of 3.2% for the year ending September 2013. Where the retail price index is lower or higher than the previous September, the Secretary of State is obliged to change the limits by percentage of the decrease or increase.

Angela Shaw, employment solicitor at Lanshaws said: “This will be unwelcome news for employers, particularly for those still struggling with a difficult trading period. It is a stark reminder for businesses to be vigilant when addressing workplace difficulties. In my experience, employers often have a genuine reason to terminate employment but increase the risk of a claim at an employment tribunal simply because of poor management and a lack of general understanding of what is expected. This combined with employees becoming more aware of their employment rights can hit a business hard financially and in terms of creating a negative image.

The best way to respond to these changes is to minimise risk and to manage a workforce properly. Disciplinary and grievance procedures should exist and be reviewed to ensure that they are compliant. An equal opportunities policy will help to reduce liability to discrimination claims, which are often issued in addition to a claim for unfair dismissal. Policies should be clearly communicated to all staff and training should be provided to ensure that those responsible for addressing workplace problems are able to recognise an issue and deal with it swiftly before it quickly escalates. Most importantly, an employer should seek legal advice before instigating any process.”

For further press information contact Angela Shaw at Lanshaws Solicitors on 0777 432 5738 or e-mail ashaw@lanshaws.co.uk