Following the Red Tape Challenge and the Resolving Workplace Disputesconsultations, the government has just announced major employer-friendly reforms to employment law which they say are “flexible and fair”.
Are you up to speed yet with the proposed provisions? If not, here is a handy guide to the issues being consulted on.
The government plan to:
Introduce fees for claimants to bring employment tribunal claims
- Either requiring an initial fee to lodge a claim, and then a second fee to progress to a hearing, or
- Introducing a £30,000 threshold, so claimants with claims in excess of this amount will pay more to bring a claim.
- Require all employment disputes to go via ACAS before going to a tribunal
- Increase the qualification period for unfair dismissal from one to two years from April 2012.
- Modify the calculation for employment tribunal awards and statutory redundancy payments to round to the nearest pound.
- Change some aspects of tribunal cases from April 2012
- No longer requiring witnesses to read out their statements
- No more expenses for witnesses
- Employment Judges to sit alone in unfair dismissal claims.
- Increase the maximum amount of costs that employers can claim against vexatious tribunal claimants from £10,000 to £20,000.
- Increase the maximum amount of deposit that an Employment Judge can impose on claimants with weak claims from £500 to £1,000.
- Simplify the National Minimum Wage
- Prevent employees from “whistleblowing” about their own employment contract.
The government will also be consulting further by way of a “call for evidence” on:
- Reducing the 90 day minimum consultation period for 100 or more employees in collective redundancies.
- Simplifying the TUPE regulations which currently provide for employees to transfer to new employers automatically when a business transfers or there is an outsourcing or insourcing situation.
If you want to respond to these “calls for evidence”, follow the links above and respond by 31 January 2012.
Further consultation will take place on the government’s proposals to:
- Introduce “protected conversations” allowing employers to discuss issues like retirement or poor performance with staff without this affecting any subsequent tribunal claims.
- Introducing a “no fault dismissal” payment scheme for businesses with less than 10 employees
- Simplify compromise agreements and call them “settlement agreements”. These are contracts in which an employee compromises or settles their potential claims against their employer in return for compensation.
- Develop a “rapid resolution” scheme to provide a quicker and cheaper alternative to a decision by an employment tribunal.
- Streamline the current regulatory regime for the recruitment sector.
- Create a universally portable CRB check that can be viewed by employers instantly online.
- Simplifying existing dismissal processes
The government have also appointed a leading Employment Judge to review the existing rules of procedure governing employment tribunals, with a view to simplifying them and improving efficiency.
If you want to find out more or respond to the consultations or calls for evidence, visit the BIS website or talk to your MP. If you would like to discuss any of the proposals in terms of how they will affect your business, please contact theEmployment Law Department at Gelbergs Solicitors, and we will be happy to help.
This blog is for information purposes only and is not a definitive statement of law. It is correct as of the publishing date, but may become out of date as the law changes. You should always seek professional legal advice about your particular circumstances.
Published: 6th September 2012