Proposals to Reform Employment Law Published
The Government has this week published the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which aims to streamline Employment Tribunal procedure by encouraging resolution of cases. It is proposed that all Employment Tribunal claims will be subject to an initial, mandatory conciliation period of such duration to be specified. It is anticipated that ACAS will be heavily involved in this but it is not clear what additional resources will be allocated to them to facilitate this involvement. The maximum compensatory award that can be made in unfair dismissal cases may be limited to less than the current limit of £72,300 either with reference to national median earnings or simply to one years’ salary. The proposal that Employment Tribunals should have the power to impose a standalone financial penalty on employers in cases where there are “aggravating features” has been retained in the Bill with it being suggested that this should be subject to a minimum of £100, a maximum of £5000 and with a 50% discount for early payment. However, this Bill is at the very early stages in the legislative process and whether any or all of these proposals become legislation remains to be seen.
In addition, the Adrian Beecroft Report on Employment Law which caused controversy earlier in the year when it was leaked has been published. Full text of the Report is available at www.bis.gov.uk together with the Government’s immediate response to it.