Radical” Employment Law Reforms Announced by the G
In November 2011 Business Secretary Vince Cable outlined to the manufacturers’ organisation, the EEF, the Government’s plans for the “most radical reforms to the Employment Law system for decades”.
Amongst the proposals are the following:-
- To seek views on introducing compensated “no fault” dismissals for micro firms with fewer than 10 employees.
- To consider the slimming down and simplification of dismissal procedures.
- To consider the introduction of fees for Tribunal claims.
- To require all employment disputes to be offered ACAS Pre-Claim Conciliation before going to a Tribunal.
- To increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years from April 2012.
- To consider having “protected conversations” to allow employers to have discussions with staff about retirement or poor performance, which could not be relied upon in a Tribunal claim.
- To review the Tribunal rules so to make the Tribunal process simpler and more efficient.
- To consider the development of a “rapid resolution” scheme to offer a quicker and cheaper alternative to Employment Tribunals.
Mr Cable described these proposals as “emphatically not an attempt to give businesses an easy ride at the expense of the staff”.
Daven Naghen, head of our Employment Team commented as follows on the proposed reforms:-
“No doubt if most of these proposals come to fruition then there will be seen to be a big shift in Employment Law in favour of the employer, especially those employers who are small businesses.
Some of the proposals make good sense in theory and appear “even-handed”. I obviously await with interest the actual details. I particularly feel the ideas of “protected conversations”, more pre-claim involvement by ACAS and a “rapid resolution scheme” are potentially very helpful to all parties. These proposals do not necessarily weaken the position of employees, but hopefully will provide a more effective way of resolving work place disputes without the need for lengthy, costly and stressful Tribunal claims.
On the other hand employees will certainly feel that they will be disadvantaged by the proposal to increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal to two years and by the imposition of fees for Tribunal claims.”
If you want any advice on any of the issues referred to in this article, then please do not hesitate to contact Daven on firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 01775 722261 or at 23 New Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.