Many of you will have heard about the Government’s numerous proposals for changing or updating the status quo relating to issues as diverse as redundancy consultation, TUPE, Tribunal procedures, compromise agreements, ACAS conciliation and even employment status. However, until recently, not only was how these changes would manifest themselves unclear, but also when they would kick in.
The Government has now released its Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 which provides a better idea as to when certain changes will come into force. It suggests that the following will become active as of 25 June 2013:
Changes to the law relating to whistleblowing (or more formally known as "protected disclosures") - this will include introducing a requirement that protected disclosures must actually include a public interest element (at present, employees can potentially whistleblow simply about issues relating to their own contracts), removing a requirement that disclosures must be in "good faith" and allowing for employers to be vicariously liable for the actions of its employees when it comes to them treating whistleblowers unreasonably;
Doing away with the 2 year service requirement for those who want to allege that their dismissal was unfair as it related to their political opinions or affiliations; and
New Tribunal Rules (however, whilst these rules might be finalised by 25 June 2013, we have been told that this does not necessarily mean that they will be active by this date).
Unfortunately the timing of other changes on the horizon is less clear. Saying that though, the word on the employment grapevine is that they can roughly be expected as follows (but do not hold us to this!):
New caps on unfair dismissal compensation (potentially the lesser of a year’s salary or £74,200) - Summer 2013.
Confidential discussions regarding the exit of employees (to cover conversations that would not currently be deemed "without prejudice") - Summer 2013.
Fees for lodging Tribunal claims - Summer 2013.
The introduction of "Employee Shareholders" - September 2013.
Potential updates to TUPE (including removing drafting which deals with "service provision changes" triggering TUPE transfers) - October 2013.
Making early ACAS conciliation prior to a Tribunal claim a compulsory consideration - At some point in 2014.
Additional financial penalties for those employers found by a Tribunal to have disregarded employment law - At some point in 2014.
Further changes to the Equality Act 2010 (including doing away with statutory discrimination questionnaires) - No indications at present.
We will naturally provide further updates as and when more is known.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.