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28 March 2013

Progress on employment law reform

Our employment team reports on the latest Government announcements relating to the ongoing programme of employment law reform.

The Government has recently published a new report, Employment law 2013: progress on reform setting out the latest position in relation to its ongoing Employment Law Review.

Key points to note are as follows:

  • The report confirms that the changes to the existing collective redundancy consultation rules will take effect from 6 April 2013.  Proposed redundancies affecting 100 or more employees at a single establishment will be subject to a minimum period of 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect, reduced from 90 days.
  • New employment rules of procedure, together with fees for bringing a claim in the employment tribunal, will now take effect from summer 2013 (exact date to be confirmed).  A cap of one year’s pay will apply to the unfair dismissal compensatory award, subject to the existing cap of £74,200, probably from the same date.
  • Proposals to increase the use of ‘settlement agreements’ by employers, and to facilitate pre-termination settlement discussions are also planned to take effect from summer 2013.  A new Acas Code of Practice on settlement agreements is currently under consultation.
  • Reforms to the current Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) are due to take place in autumn 2013, including removal of the express provisions relating to service provision changes.
  • The introduction of the new ‘employee-shareholder’ status under the Growth and Infrastructure Bill has been delayed until 1 September 2013.  However, the House of Lords voted to remove this clause from the Bill altogether on 20 March 2013, so it remains to be seen whether it is reinstated when the Bill returns to be considered by the House of Commons on 16 April 2013.

We will keep you updated on the progress of these reforms and other developments as they are announced.

A copy of the full Government report is available here