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26th March 2013

Govt. Publishes Employment Law Review Update

The government has published Employment Law 2013: Progress on Reform, detailing the progress on employment law reform to date and outlining a timetable of future changes. The key measures and expected implementation dates for future changes are set out below.

Spring 2013

Collective redundancy consultation: The 90 day consultation requirement for redundancies involving 100 or more employees is to be reduced to 45 days in April 2013.

Consolidation of national minimum wage (NMW): The government will be simplifying the NMW rules and intends to produce a single set of consolidated NMW regulations by April 2013, merging the current 17 sets of regulations.

Summer 2013

Compensatory award cap: The unfair dismissal compensatory award will be capped at the lower of one year’s pay and the existing limit. The calculation of a year’s pay for these purposes will be based on the statutory definition of “a week’s pay” contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Whistleblowing: The government intends to amend the Employment Rights Act 1996 so that workers cannot bring a whistleblowing case relating to a breach of their own contract that is not in the public interest.

New employment tribunal fees: Submitting a claim to a tribunal or an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be subject to an initial issue fee, followed by a subsequent hearing fee.

Gangmasters Licensing Authority: The enforcement of gangmaster licensing is to change to a risk-based approach and gangmaster licensing compliance is to be simplified.

Autumn 2013

Employee ownership: The new employee shareholder status will be implemented in Autumn 2013 rather than April 2013 as previously expected. Under the proposals, employees will be able to obtain shares in their employer in return for giving up some of their employment rights. The first £50,000 worth of shares (valued at acquisition) will be free from capital gains tax on disposal.

Reform of TUPE 2006: In January 2013, the government issued a consultation on proposed changes to TUPE 2006. The consultation closes on 11 April 2013. The changes are expected to be implemented from October 2013.

Spring 2014

Right to request flexible working: Part 8 of the Children and Families Bill amends the Employment Rights Act 1996 to extend flexible working rights to all employees with 26 weeks’ service, rather than just those employees who qualify as parents or carers.

Employment tribunal penalties for losing respondents: Following the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation the government announced it would introduce financial penalties for unsuccessful respondents, although it would not be an automatic levy.

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