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Employment Law updates

Employment Law Reform announced - Reforming Employment Relations


After many months of rumour, Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced the government's proposals for what is claimed to be the biggest shakeup of employment law for decades.

The main proposals are:-

  1. Unfair dismissal qualifying period to increase to two years
  2. In the UK, compulsory lodging of all claims through Acas for an attempt at mediation, before they can be lodged with the tribunal
  3. Consultation on the introduction of protected conversations, with the proviso that they will not extend to protect discriminatory acts
  4. A call for evidence, with a view to consultation, on reducing minimum period for redundancy consultation to possibly 30 days
  5. Options for a 'rapid resolution scheme', to enable simple claims to be settled within three months
  6. Amendment to s147 of Equality Act 2010, to clarify compromise agreements can be used to settle discrimination claims
  7. Complaints about breach of employment contract  to be taken out of whistleblowing law
  8. Financial penalties to be introduced on employers who breach employment rights, payable to the Exchequer, subject to a discretion exercisable by Employment Judges
  9. A fundamental review of employment tribunal rules of procedure, to include changes to costs
  10. Employment Judges to sit alone in unfair dismissal cases
  11. CRB checks to be portable, so no need for a fresh application when moving jobs
  12. Maternity and paternity leave to be 'modernised', with emphasis on greater involvement for fathers

The aims of the reform are "to safeguard workers’ rights, while deregulating to reduce the onerous and unnecessary demands on businesses."

Cable concluded his speech yesterday saying that although the changes he has mentioned proposes fundamental change to employment legislation that he was striving for a wider change in the employment relations culture.  "A culture that establishes dialogue rather than confrontation as the norm between employers and employees. That trusts people to do the right thing rather than relying on regulation to deal with every single issue that arises. And that ensures businesses have the confidence to hire the talented and committed workforce they need in order to thrive."

The sentiments we agree with, how it will work remains to be seen!


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