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February 2008 Updates

Compensation Limit Increases

From 1st February 2008:

  • The rate of a week's pay (for the purposes of a statutory redundancy payment and an unfair dismissal basic award) increases from £310 to £330.
  • The maximum compensatory award for an unfair dismissal claim increases
    from £60,600 to £63,000.

The new limits apply to dismissals occurring on or after 1st February 2008.

Expired disciplinary warnings

The Court of Appeal has held, in Airbus v Webb, that an employer may take expired disciplinary warnings into account when deciding whether or not to dismiss an employee. Mr Webb was given a 12 month final written warning for misuse of company time. One month after the warning expired, he was caught watching TV during company time with some colleagues. He was dismissed. His colleagues (who had not had a previous final warning) were not dismissed. The Court of Appeal held that Mr Webb's dismissal was fair. Reliance on an expired warning was a relevant factor in deciding whether the employer had acted reasonably in dismissing. In some circumstances, reliance on an expired warning may mean the dismissal is unfair but this isn't inevitably the case. Please note that employers should not, as a result of this judgment, expect to be able to rely on expired disciplinary warnings as a matter of course. The ability to do so will remain the exception rather than the rule.

Immigrant worker changes

From 29th February 2008, we will see radical changes being introduced into all aspects of business immigration. This is when the new points based system will be introduced gradually by the Home Office. Ultimately, it will affect 80 current work and study immigration categories.

The points based system will be based on a five tier structure. It will have significant impact on those companies proposing to make new work permit applications and/or extension applications. You will need to apply to be licensed as a sponsor and have various ongoing obligations in order to maintain your licence.

Tier 1 (which includes Highly Skilled Migrants) is likely to be implemented in March 2008. Tier 2 (which covers the existing Work Permit Scheme albeit with a lot of modifications to include an English language requirement and electronic certificates of sponsorship) is likely to come in with effect from Autumn 2008.


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SRA number 404293