The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill received Royal Assent last week meaning that there will be a number of key changes to employment law and tribunal procedures as of this summer.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 as it is now called will also bring in a new regime giving shareholders more say on directors’ pay, establish the new Competition and Markets Authority and enshrine the aims of the Green Investment.
The changes to employment law include an amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996, which will mean that whistle blowing disclosures will not be protected unless the employee believes they are in the public interest. There are also changes to the “good faith” requirements relating to whistle blowing disclosures.
One of the earliest changes is in the provision in the Act for the simplification of procedures and costs of deciding tribunal cases, which comes into force on 25 June 2013.
While also, from June, the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will no longer apply where the reason for the dismissal is the employee’s political opinions or affiliation.
Other changes coming into force include shareholders being given binding votes on pay policy and a number of changes to the Equality Act 2010.
These include the repeal of the questionnaire procedure under the Act whereby an individual can apply to obtain information about discrimination from the employer and use this as evidence in a tribunal. In addition, the word ‘caste’ will be added to the definition of ‘race’ under the Act.
Compromise Agreements will be renamed ‘settlement agreements’ in a bid to encourage parties to settle employment disputes and further to this, Acas will be given details of proposed employment tribunal claims before proceedings start so that parties have the opportunity of engaging in conciliation with an Acas conciliation officer.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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