Contract of employment

Current Government policy to tackle red tape is to ensure that when any new regulation is implemented, an existing one is repealed. That may give the impression that 2013 will see little new employment legislation. However, you’d be quite mistaken. In fact, it looks like it’s going to be quite a challenge just to keep up with what’s in and what’s out, so far as employment law change is concerned.

For starters, the maximum award for unfair dismissal has already been raised. In March, parental leave increases to 18 weeks when, in line with the policy, it’s expected that provisions covering discrimination questionnaires and third party harassment will be repealed.

April is also looking like an extremely busy month, with the new ‘Employee shareholder’ work status expected – under which, employees can sign up to give away certain employment rights in exchange for shares. What’s more, the minimum period for consultation ahead of a large scale redundancy will be halved; whistleblowing protection will be narrowed; and maternity and other statutory payments will increase.

By the summertime it will really hot up. Employment Tribunal fees will be introduced and Tribunals may be able to order an employer to pay financial penalties if they lose a case. The list goes on – settlement talks may be ‘protected’ as confidential; unfair dismissal awards may change to reflect average salaries; equal pay audits may be ordered; and conciliation with Acas may be mandatory before a claim can be made – all this, plus a new consultation on TUPE.

These are just some of the highlights of changes we expect this year and, as many other proposals do not – as yet – have implementation dates, it could expand considerably. Given the pace and extent of change, it opens up the question of what proposals might have been made if the Government wasn’t so set on removing regulatory burdens?

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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.