Radical proposals for employment law reforms
23 November 2011
The Government has announced today proposals for radical employment law reforms.
Some of the key proposals include:
- Unfair dismissal qualifying period to increase to two years
- Compulsory lodging of all claims through Acas, for an attempt at mediation, before they can be lodged with the tribunal
- Consultation on the introduction of protected conversations, with the proviso that they will not extend to protect discriminatory acts
- A call for evidence, with a view to consultation, on reducing minimum period for redundancy consultation to 60, 45 or 30 days
However, grabbing the headlines is the controversial announcement that Ministers are seeking views on whether firms with 10 or fewer employees should be able to sack staff without risk of an unfair dismissal claim if they pay compensation through a no-fault agreement. This follows the leaked Government report by Adrian Beecroft last month, which called for the right for employees to claim unfair dismissal to be abolished. At the time, Downing Street denied any plans in this regard. Details of these proposals have not yet been published.
Other proposals announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, include:
- Options for a `rapid resolution scheme`, to enable simple claims to be settled within three months
- Amendment to s147 of Equality Act 2010, to clarify compromise agreements can be used to settle discrimination claims
- Complaints about breach of employment contract to be taken out of whistleblowing laws
- Financial penalties to be introduced on employers who breach employment rights, payable to the Exchequer, subject to a discretion exercisable by Employment Judges
- A fundamental review of employment tribunal rules of procedure, to include changes to costs and desposit orders
- Employment Judges to sit alone in unfair dismissal cases
- CRB checks to be portable, so no need for a fresh application when moving jobs
- Maternity and paternity leave to be `modernised`, with emphasis on greater involvement for fathers
Keep an eye on Buddy for more details on these proposals over the coming weeks.
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