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HR Legal Update

In November Business Secretary, Vince Cable, announced proposals for sweeping changes to employment law. These proposals, which will be subject to public consultation, include:

  • Introduction of “protected conversations”, i.e. a method by which an employer can have an off-the-record discussion with an employee, although it is not proposed that this will extend to discriminatory acts
  • Introduction of a simplified form of compromise agreement, to be renamed ‘settlement agreement’
  • An increase of the qualifying period to bring an unfair dismissal claim to two years of continuous employment
  • Reducing the period for collective redundancy consultation to 60 (or fewer) days
  • The ‘modernisation’ of maternity and paternity rights
  • Removal of breach of an employment contract as a relevant breach for a whistleblowing claim
  • A ‘rapid resolution scheme’ enabling simple claims to be settled within three months
  • Compulsory mediation of all disputes through ACAS before a claim can be brought
  • Financial penalties (payable to the Exchequer) on employers for breach of employment rights; and
  • A fundamental review of the rules of procedure of the Tribunals inclusive of judges sitting alone on unfair dismissal claims.

Expect further updates on these areas as the details unfold.