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Synchronised employment law commencement dates

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dtiThe DTI has published details of the employment regulations that are due to take effect in 2004.

From 2004, domestic changes will only be implemented on two days each year:

  • 6 April, the start of the tax year, and
  • 1 October, when the national minimum wage is reviewed.

Changes to employment law and practice:

6 April

1 October
  • Annual revision of National Minimum Wage
    The Low Pay Commission has recommended that on 1 October 2004 the National Minimum Wage should rise to £4.85 per hour for adult workers and £4.10 per hour for those aged 18 – 21. It is due to report on any fine-tuning of this recommendation in light of economic conditions in February 2004.

    The Government has also asked the Commission to report by February 2004 on the possible introduction of a minimum wage for workers aged 16 and 17. It is possible that a new minimum wage rate may be introduced for this group in October 2004. The Government will not make any decision until the Commission has reported.

  • Discipline and Grievance Code of Practice
    To take account of the new statutory procedures a revised version of the widely-used Acas Code of Practice will take effect. The Code of Practice sets out practical advice and guidance for dealing with disciplinary and grievance matters in the workplace.

  • Dispute Resolution Regulations
    The regulations will introduce new statutory procedures to encourage the resolution of dismissal, disciplinary and grievance disputes in the workplace.

  • Employment Appeal Tribunal Rules
    Amendment of existing EAT Rules arising out of the Employment Act 2002 relating to the handling of costs and expenses. The EAT President has also tabled proposals for changes to the appeal process. The changes will only impact on employers and employees who are resolving a dispute at the EAT.

  • Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations
    The new regulations and rules of procedure will seek to modernise the tribunal system and render it more efficient. The regulations will cover both England and Wales, and Scotland and will impact on employees and their employers who are seeking to resolve a dispute at an employment tribunal.

  • Employment Tribunals: New application forms
    Both applicants and respondents (typically employers) will be required to use new forms when dealing with an employment tribunal case. These new forms will require both parties to share more information earlier in the tribunal process. The changes will impact on employees and their employers who are seeking to resolve a dispute at an employment tribunal.

  • Equal Pay Act, Rules of Procedure in equal value claims
    The regulations simplify and streamline the complex rules of procedure relating to equal value tribunal cases. The aim is to speed up the Independent Expert procedure that presently can cause delay.

  • Equal Pay Act, “No reasonable grounds” provision
    A short set of regulations will amend the “no reasonable grounds” provision in the Equal Pay Act, in order to clarify it.

  • TUPE Regulations
    The revision of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE) take on board amendments to the EC Acquired Rights Directive and will provide more clarity over whether or not the regulations apply to particular contracting-out or analogous situations. They will apply to all businesses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Note: It is possible that the commencement of the regulations may not take place until 2005.


Other regulations arising from Europe which are not aligned to either common commencement date and other key activities can be viewed on the DTI website.

Employment Relations Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: “The annual statement and harmonisation of commencement dates for changes in employment law and practice are a direct response by the DTI to meet concerns of employers and workers as identified by the Better Regulation Taskforce.”

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