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Employment Law Reform Government proposals for change

Employers – BEWARE!  The government is planning to impose financial penalties on employers who have breached their employment law obligations.  Tribunals will have discretion to fine employers up to £5,000 for failure to comply. So make sure your infrastructure is right, your contracts and policies and procedures are in place and up to date, and you understand the do’s and don’t s of being an employer in 2012!

Contact Jenny on jenny@jsconsult.co.uk for your free healthcheck!

Other government proposals

Unfair Dismissal Claims: From April 2012 employees will need to have 2 years service (up from 1 year) to qualify for unfair dismissal.  Beware – discrimination, whistleblowing and health and safety claims wont be affected and claims can be brought from day 1 of employment

Protected Conversations: This is designed to encourage open discussions between employers and employees.  It’s not clear how this will help in a situation where employers and employees may say things they rather wished they hadn’t when the case moves towards the close scrutiny of the tribunal judge.

Early ACAS Conciliation: Use ACAS more!   That’s what the Government encourages but where are the extra resources coming from, and the service is not always as good as it could be.

Mediation:  Keep talking – the Government is encouraging the use of mediation to resolve disputes at an early stage – sadly there are many employees who are hell bent on making a claim and not so interested in early stage mediation.

Compromise Agreements: Used to settle employment disputes and protect employers from future claims by an employee after they have left the organisation.   These are likely to become more commonplace under the new name of Settlement Agreements

Fees for bringing a Tribunal Claim:  The government is intending to charge fees for bringing a claim – but only for those who can afford it.  As most people bringing a claim are likely to be unemployed, almost by definition, it is hard to see that this will in practice be much of a deterrent!