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Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013
This Act was passed in April 2013 and contains a number of key changes which are due to come into effect in stages over the next 2 years. The key elements cover changes to compromise agreements; protection over unfair dismissal where related to political opinions/ affiliations; changes to “Whistleblowing” protections; changes to the cap on compensatory awards; Employment Tribunal hearing arrangements and financial penalties; the introduction of a mandatory early conciliation process through Acas; and changes to the Equality Act. Here is a summary of the key provisions.

Pre-termination negotiations will become inadmissible in unfair dismissal claims and compromise agreements will be renamed settlement agreements and this will be introduced sometime in the summer of 2013.

Unfair dismissal:
With effect from 25 June 2013 there will be a removal of the 2-year qualifying service requirement where an employee is dismissed for political opinions or affiliations. There will also be a new cap on compensatory award (the current proposal is the lower of one year’s pay or the existing cap) to come into effect in the summer of 2013.

“Whistleblowing” laws:
With effect from 25th June 2013 there will be a new requirement for disclosures to be made in the public interest. There will also be a removal of requirement for disclosures to be made in good faith and the concept of vicarious liability of the employer and personal liability of co-workers will be introduced.

Employment tribunals and employment appeals:
Certain changes will be introduced on 25th June 2013 to allow EAT judges to sit alone in certain cases. There will also be an extension of tribunals’ power to make deposit orders. Financial penalties for losing employers will be introduced in spring 2014.

ACAS mandatory early conciliation process:
This new compulsory stage will be introduced in April 2014 before a claim can proceed to an Employment Tribunal

The Act has revoked the third party harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010 and has abolished the questionnaire procedure in discrimination cases. It also allows for the extension of race discrimination definition to expressly cover "caste" by April 2015.

In addition, the Act allows the government to legislate at a later date to enable tribunals to order compulsory pay audits for Equal Pay purposes.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016

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