Today (or technically yesterday – for the start of the new tax year), employers have a number of new employment laws to grapple with. 
ACAS early conciliation
The new scheme under which claimants to the Employment Tribunal must contact ACAS before bringing their claim is now in operation. Using it only becomes mandatory on 6 May 2014.
Financial penalties for employers
The new regime of financial penalties for employers who Employment Tribunals find have infringed a claimant’s employment rights has also come into force. The penalty is only payable where the tribunal finds some aggravating feature in the infringement. The maximum penalty is £5,000 and there is a 50% discount for paying the penalty promptly.
Sick pay rebate abolished
The percentage threshold scheme under which employers could recover some of the statutory sick pay they paid, where it exceeded 13% of their National Insurance liability, has come to an end. It may still be possible to recover some of those costs in respect of an incapacity falling before 6 April 2014.
New payment rates
Statutory Sick Pay has increased to £87.55 per week.
The lower rate of Statutory Maternity Pay has increased to £138.18 per week.
New compensation limits
The limit on a week’s pay for statutory redundancy pay and related purposes is £464.
A statutory guarantee payment in the case of lay-off or short-time working is now £25 per day.
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal is now £76,574, although the lower amount of 52 weeks’ gross pay will apply in most cases.
A drafting error in the original statutory instrument introducing Employment Tribunal fees has been corrected, bringing Equal Pay claims, amongst others, into the higher fee band of £250 issue fee and £950 hearing fee for single claims.
Statutory discrimination questionnaires have now been abolished in respect of alleged acts of discrimination occurring on or after 6 April 2014.
The law has been amended to limit the circumstances in which an owner/director of a personal service company can provide their services to a client on a self-employed basis. If the worker is under the supervision and control of the client, the relationship is now likely to be treated as one of employment.