Employment Law Reforms (1)
Shortly after being elected, the Coalition Government identified the reform of employment law and the workings of the employment tribunal system as a priority. Its rationale is to reduce costs and red tape, so that businesses can be confident about recruiting and dismissing (where necessary) while growing, without the risk of costly (misconceived or mischievous) employment tribunal claims. As part of this programme, on 14 September 2012 the UK Government issued 2 new consultation papers. The consultation papers propose (1) new (simpler and much shorter) employment tribunal rules; (2) a reduction to the cap on unfair dismissal awards (by reference to a complicated and, as yet, undecided formula); and (3) the greater use of compromise agreements (to be renamed “settlement agreements”) to end employment quickly (these have grown out of the “protected conversations” suggestion that turned out to be something of a damp squib). The Consultation period ends on 23 November 2012. That said, the Government’s response after the end of consultation periods has tended to be unpredictable and has depended on other factors and political expediency – and the current party political season this may slow things down.