Plans for widespread major reforms to employment law

30 November 2011

In the last week the government has announced a huge number of changes and potential changes to employment law.  These plans come in addition to other major proposals recently announced by the coalition government (see below).

The changes put forward for further consideration and/or consultation are as follows:

  • Compulsory pre-claim conciliation.
  • Re-naming compromise agreements as “settlement agreements” and simplifying them.
  • A ‘call for evidence’ on whether the collective redundancy consultation period should be reduced.
  • A ‘call for evidence’ on the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006(TUPE).
  • A wholesale review of the Employment Tribunal Rules and Procedures.
  • The idea of a Rapid Resolution Scheme for “straightforward” claims such as for holiday pay.
  • Updating whistle-blowing laws so that complaints about breaching employment contracts are not included.
  • Taking Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks online and making them universally portable.
  • The introduction of “compensated no-fault dismissals” for micro-businesses (with 10 or fewer employees).
  • Introducing financial penalties for unsuccessful Respondents ­ on top of awards to Claimants ­ which would be payable to the Exchequer, could be based on 50% of the award and could range from £100 to £5,000 at the Tribunal’s discretion.
  • Slimming-down the dismissal process.

Much of the detail has not yet been set out and consultations will be commenced for some of these measures. We will wait and see which of these proposals make it in to law.

As a reminder, the major proposals already announced include: increasing the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one year’s to two years’ service; the introduction of varying levels of Tribunal fees and consultation on the introduction of ‘protected conversations’.

To read the latest developments from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, please click here.