New statutory pay rates
From 1 April the standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases from £128.73 to £135.45 per week.
From 6 April the standard rate of statutory sick pay increases from £81.60 to £85.85 per week. It is also expected that the basic state pension will increase from £102.15 to £107.45 in April.
Increases in maximum tribunal awards and "a week’s pay"
The maximum unfair dismissal award is to increase from £68,400 to £72,300 and the maximum amount of a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating a statutory redundancy payment and the basic and additional awards for unfair dismissal increases from £400 to £430.
These changes take effect where the event that gives rise to an award occurs on or after 1 February 2012.
Automatic pension enrolment postponed
Although due to come into effect later this year on 26 January the government announced that it is delaying implementation of automatic enrolment of employees into a qualifying workplace pension scheme and with mandatory contributions by the employer.
The Pensions Act 2008 provides that such employers must automatically enrol all eligible employees not already participating in a workplace pension scheme into the employer’s pension scheme or the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).
It had been thought that all employers with 50 or more employees would have to implement the scheme by 1 October 2012. However, taking into account "exceptionally tough economic times", businesses with fewer than 250 employees are to be given more time. Those with 50 to 249 employees have until 1 April 2014, 30 to 49 employees 1 August 2015 and fewer than 30 employees 1 January 2016.