Following our blog article on 9 January 2012 looking ahead to the Government’s Employment Law Reforms for 2012, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has expanded further on the following proposals:
Unfair dismissal reforms
• The increase in the qualifying period to two years will only apply to those starting a new job on or after 6 April 2012.
• Employees who started their jobs before 6 April will remain subject to the one-year qualifying period.
• Regulations to extend the qualifying period will be published shortly and will be subject to Parliamentary debate.
• The Government will not implement the EU Directive on Parental Leave (No. 2010/18) in March 2012
• The Government will use its 1 year ‘grace period’ allowed by the Directive – due to its ongoing Modern Workplaces policy development
• The increase from 13 to 18 weeks Parental Leave will therefore be implemented in March 2013, rather than March 2012
Reforms requiring Secondary legislation
Subject to parliamentary approval, the following changes should be effected via secondary legislation and come into force on 6 April 2012:
• Witness statements being taken as read
• The removal of witness expenses
• Judges sitting alone in unfair dismissal cases
• Changes to limits for cost awards and deposit orders.
Reforms requiring primary legislation
The following measures require primary legislation and will be implemented when parliamentary time allows:
• Early conciliation
• Financial penalties for employers
• Judges sitting alone in the EAT as a default arrangement
• An amended formula for uprating tribunal awards and redundancy payments
It was also announced that the revised procedural code for employment tribunals expected as a result of Mr Justice Underhill’s fundamental review of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure is expected to come into force in 2013, following public consultation and subject to parliamentary approval.
Please see our link to our Legislation Look-Ahead for 2012 here.
As ever, Devonshires will continue to keep you updated via the employment law blog.