IMPORTANT – New Timetable for Employment Law Reforms

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Posted in:HR and Employment|March 22, 2013 | Join the mailing list

The Government has now published a policy paper on the progress of its employment law reforms, setting out the intended implementation dates over the course of 2013 and 2014.

Coming into force in spring 2013

Collective redundancy consultation.
The 90 day consultation requirement for redundancies involving 100 or more employees is to be reduced to 45 days in April 2013. Acas will be publishing new collective redundancy guidance in respect of these changes.

Coming into force in summer 2013

12 month earning cap on unfair dismissal compensatory award
The Government intends that with effect from summer 2013 the maximum compensatory award in unfair dismissal cases will be whichever is the lower of 12 months’ salary for the claimant or the maximum statutory cap (which is currently £74,200).

Revised (Underhill) Employment Tribunal rules
The Government has also now responded to its consultation on Mr. Justice Underhill’s proposed new rules of procedure for Employment Tribunals. The proposals have been largely accepted, subject to some amendments made in light of the consultation responses.
The Government intends the new rules to come into force in the summer of 2013.

The Government has stated that the new rules will "strip out unnecessary bureaucracy in the administration of the system, and in particular formalise existing good practice in case management, so that fairness and consistency in approach
is applied across the different Employment Tribunal offices".

Employment tribunal fees
From summer 2013, submitting a claim to an Employment Tribunal or an appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal will be subject to an initial issue fee, followed by a subsequent hearing fee.

Changes to whistleblowing laws
The Government intends to amend the Employment Rights Act 1996, so that workers cannot bring a whistleblowing case relating to a breach of their own employment contract, unless it is in the public interest for them to do so.

Increasing the use of settlement agreements
The Government is also proposing new legislation, so that with effect from summer 2013 an employer will be able to have a conversation with an employee about a possible termination of employment deal without the employee then being able to refer to that conversation
in any subsequent unfair dismissal claim. However, the conversation will need to properly conducted and it is also intended that there will be an Acas code of practice setting out what will and will not be permitted.  

Coming into force in autumn 2013

Employee shareholder status
The Government intends that with effect from autumn 2013 an employee will be able to enter into an agreement with their employer under which the employee receives shares in their employer in return for giving up some of their employment rights. The first £50,000
worth of those shares (valued at acquisition) will be free from capital gains tax when they are subsequently disposed of by the employee.

Stop Press!  – The House of Lords has this week refused to pass the proposed legislation on employee shareholder contracts and the legislation has therefore gone back to the House of Commons for review. It will be interesting to see whether
the Government decides to press on with its plans. 

TUPE reforms
There are a number of proposed changes to the TUPE regulations, which are expected to be implemented from October 2013. These include:

1. removing references to "service provision changes";
2. removal of the transferor’s obligation to provide employee liability information, but making it clear that it should disclose information to the transferee where it is necessary for either party to comply with their information and consultation obligations;

3. changing the wording of the regulations which restrict changes to employment contracts, give protection against dismissal and give the right to resign in response to a substantial change in working conditions.

Coming into force in 2014

Acas early conciliation
It is intended from April 2014 that most potential Employment Tribunal claims will need to be referred to Acas for possible conciliation before the claim can go ahead in the Employment Tribunal.

Employment tribunal penalties for employers
Tribunals are to be given the power to impose a financial penalty on employers who lose at a Tribunal hearing and the amount of this will be 50% of any financial award made in favour of the claimant, with a minimum threshold of £100 and a maximum cap of £5,000.
Where a non-financial award is made, the Tribunal will be able to designate a monetary value to the award. The penalty will be reduced by 50% if paid within 21 days.

Extension of the right to request flexible working to all employees
The Government intends to extend flexible working rights, with effect from 2014, to all employees with 26 weeks’ service, rather than just those who already qualify as parents or carers.

Follow this link to access the Government’s Progress Report:

For more information about any of the above or for practical advice on these or any other aspect of employment law, please contact Nigel Crebbin or Claire Haworth of the Berg Employment Team on 0161 833 9211 or email us at or

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The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional
legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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