Moving the goalposts?
After much pre-publicity, last month the Government finally published its response to the consultation paper regarding the resolution of workplace disputes. There have been several aspects that they have addressed including reforms of the tribunal system, and they announced more consultations over a wide variety of employment law issues such as introducing a compensated no fault dismissal provision for firms with fewer than 10 employees.
With regards to tribunal reforms, the Government has announced some changes that will come into effect in April 2012. These include the ability of tribunals to order a deposit to be paid by a claimant of up to £1,000 to deter weak claims. In addition, changes will be made such that unfair dismissal cases may be heard by one Judge alone rather than the panel of three members. The unfair dismissal qualifying period will be extended from one year to two years – but there will still be exceptions for those alleging that they have been dismissed for asserting a statutory right or making a protected disclosure (e.g. dismissed on the grounds of discrimination or raising health and safety complaints.)
Some of the other proposed consultations will look at include: reducing the minimum periods for collective redundancy where large numbers of potential redundancies are involved; simplifying compromise agreements (to be renamed, “Settlement Agreements”); modernising maternity and paternity provision even further; and extending the right to request flexible working to all employees. Many of these proposals are intended to try to simplify things for employers, but the process of consulting and potentially changing these procedures is going to cause confusion itself as employers try to work out which regulations will apply to them and under what circumstances the exclusions come into force. Therefore during this period of uncertainty, please check with your HR advisor to find out the latest position.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016