Employment Law Update

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has announced the publication of an annual report on the progress of the Employment Law Review.

The report summarises the areas of employment law which will be changing or are currently under review and is essentially a restatement of proposals that have already been made public.

There are, however, some imminent employment law changes, including:

Unfair dismissal. The qualifying period will increase from one to two years. This will only affect employees whose employment starts on or after 6 April 2012.

Deposit orders. The maximum deposit an employment tribunal will be able to order a party to pay if their claim has little reasonable prospect of success is increased from £500 to £1,000. The change will affect all cases presented on or after 6 April 2012.

Costs awards. The maximum amount of costs an employment tribunal can award (without referring the case to the county court for detailed assessment) will increase from £10,000 to £20,000. The change will affect all cases presented on or after 6 April 2012.

Witness statements. Where witness statements are used, they will stand as evidence in chief and be taken as read at the hearing, unless a judge or tribunal directs otherwise. This applies to all cases presented on or after 6 April 2012.

Witness expenses. State funded witness expenses are to be withdrawn. Tribunals will have the powers to direct parties to bear the expenses of any witness. The government will withdraw state-funded expenses. The new power will affect claims presented on or after 6 April 2012.

Judges to sit alone on unfair dismissal cases. Unfair dismissal cases in the tribunal will be heard by a judge sitting alone without lay members, unless the judge orders otherwise. This will affect all cases heard on or after 6 April 2012. The government have said that progress on this change will be reviewed after a year.

For advice on any of the proposed changes, please contact us – commercial@blasermills.co.uk