The Government has said today that it will make the â€˜most radical reform to the employment law system, which will be a major shift form what is generally regarded as one sided towards the employees. These change will be wide-ranging to include:
1. Reform of the tribunal system
2. The introduction of tribunal fees which could include two options. The first option would require an initial fee to lodge a claim then a second fee to proceed to a hearing. The second option would require those seeking an award above GBP 30,000 to pay more to bring a claim.
3. The introduction of compensated â€˜no faultâ€™ dismissals for micro-companies with fewer than 10 employees, and
4. Reducing the consultation period for collective redundancies,
The Business Secretary Vince Cable said however that the reforms were â€˜emphatically not an attempt to give businesses an easy ride at the expense of their staffâ€™.
The proposals were outlined in a speech to the manufacturersâ€™ organisation, the EEF. Some of the most unexpected ones that were not widely trailed before the speech. These include a proposal to remove protection for whistleblowing that relates to a workerâ€™s own contract where an employerâ€™s breach or likely breach of an employment contract has been a matter about which disclosures are potentially protected.
He also announced a call for evidence on whether the 90-day minimum consultation period for collective redundancies should be reduced.
Among other proposals, the Government will also:
â€¢Â examine ways to â€˜slim downâ€™ and simplify dismissal processes, potentially working with Acas to change their Code, or publishing supplementary guidance for small businesses
â€¢Â call for evidence on proposals to simplify the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006
â€¢Â consolidate 17 national minimum wage regulations.
â€¢Â consult in the spring on streamlining the regulatory regime for the recruitment sector, and
â€¢Â create a universally portable CRB check that can be viewed online from early 2013.
The Government has also committed to:
â€¢Â requiring all employment disputes to be offered Acas pre-claim conciliation before going to a tribunal.
â€¢Â increasing the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years from April 2012.
â€¢Â consulting in 2012 on â€˜protected conversationsâ€™Â to allow employers to have discussions with staff about retirement or poor performance, which could not be relied on in a tribunal claim
â€¢Â an independent review ofÂ the employment tribunal rules of procedure, led by Mr Justice Underhill, to address concerns that tribunals have become complex, inefficient, and are no longer fit for purpose
â€¢Â consulting on simplifying compromise agreements â€“ renamed â€˜settlement agreementsâ€™
â€¢Â considering how, and whether, to develop a â€˜rapid resolutionâ€™ scheme to offer a quicker and cheaper alternative to employment tribunals
â€¢Â modifying the formulae for up-rating tribunal awards and redundancy payments to the nearest pound
For more information on this subject and for assistance with employment issues in your business please contact Cyril Denemont on 020 8422 5678.