The employment scene is fast moving at the moment with constantly changing regulations and entitlements. The following notes have been compiled to give veterinary nurses an update on the current situation.

Increase in Statutory Payment Rates (per week)

From April 2013:

Maternity Pay   £136.78

Paternity Pay   £136.78

Adoption Pay   £136.78

The weekly earnings for these payments will rise from £107 to £109 Statutory Sick Pay   £86.70

Redundancy Pay   £450.00

National Minimum Wage (per hour)

Age               From 1st Oct 2012   From 1st Oct 2013

21 and over      £6.19                     £6.31

18- 20               £4.98                     £5.03

16-17               £3.68                     £3.72

Apprentices   £2.65                        £2.68

New Compensation Limits for Unfair Dismissal

The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increased from £73,200 to £74,200 in February 2013.

Increase in Parental Leave Entitlement, 8 March 2013

The amount of unpaid parental leave that can be taken per child will increase from 13 to 18 weeks, but the default position remains that leave is limited to four weeks per year per child. Currently parental leave can be taken before a child’s 5th birthday but this is expected to change in 2015 to allow it to be taken before a child’s 18th birthday.

On 8 March, the rights of agency workers will also be extended giving them the right to request a contractual variation on return to work following parental leave.

Changes to Collective Redundancy Consultation

From 6 April 2013, the minimum period for collective consultation when making more than 100 staff redundant in one establishment reduces from 90 days to 45 days.

The consultation rules for fewer than 99 staff redundancies remain unchanged. The following changes will be implemented during the summer of 2013:

Compromise Agreements

Compromise agreements are changing and will be called ‘settlement agreements’. Acas has been asked to produce a Code of Practice on Settlement Agreements and opened its consultation on a draft code on 12 February 2013. The implementation date is still to be advised.

The change will mean that employers will be able to offer ‘settlement agreements’ at any time, irrespective of whether there is an existing dispute; with neither party being able to refer to the fact that an agreement has been offered in subsequent ‘unfair dismissal' claims, should an agreement not be made.


Changes are being introduced under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Employees dismissed or subject to a ‘detriment’ as a result of complaining about a breach of their own employment contract, will no longer be able to bring a whistle-blowing claim.

Employers will also be made vicariously liable for victimisation by colleagues of workers who have blown the whistle, unless they have taken reasonable steps to prevent this happening.

Also the requirement that disclosures be made in good faith is being removed. Instead, where a disclosure is not made in good faith, employment tribunals will be able to reduce compensation by up to 25% if they consider it just and equitable to do so.

Fees to be introduced for Employment Tribunals

From July 2013, fees will be introduced for employees who submit tribunal claims. For straightforward cases, £160 will be charged to submit the claim to the tribunal and £230 for the hearing.

For more complicated claims – unfair dismissal, for instance – the fees will be £250 to submit the claim and £950 for the hearing, and claims heard by judicial mediation will cost £600.

This will reduce the number of spurious claims and reduce the cost to the employer of preparation if the case is unfounded.

Unfair Dismissal Compensation

Compensation for unfair dismissal will rise from £72,300 to £74,200.

This may change when the Regulatory Reform Bill becomes law in May 2013. Government will be given the power to limit the payment to one year’s earnings or three times median earnings (currently £26,000). The government has also announced that it will be mandatory to have a period of Acas conciliation before a claim is made.

For further support with this, or any other HR issue, BVNA members can call the BVNA IRS Helpline on 01822 870270.


Nicky Ackerley BA(Hons)

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 28 • June 2013 •