Update to the Beecroft Report

As detailed in our previous article, a government report was produced at the end of October 20111, written by Adrian Beecroft, suggesting wide ranging changes for employment law.

The government has, this morning, published its Response to the Consultation on Resolving Workplace Disputes and there have been some drastic changes in anticipation of what is claimed to be the biggest review of employment law regulations in the last decade.

Four key changes to employment regulations

NO FAULT DISMISSALS: The government will seek views on introducing “compensated no fault dismissal” for companies with fewer than 10 employees, in which employers could sack a staff member in exchange for compensation without facing an unfair dismissal case.

EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS: The qualifying period to claim unfair dismissal will increase from one year to two and ministers will consult on introducing claimant fees. All claims will go to the conciliation service Acas. A “rapid resolution scheme” will be considered for straightforward claims.

RED TAPE: Seventy employment regulations will be scrapped, merged or simplified. The Home Office will from 2013 simplify Criminal Records Bureau checks, so these can be updated online without needing a check costing £44 every time someone starts a new role.

PROTECTED CONVERSATIONS: The government plans a system of “protected conversations”, aimed at allowing employers to raise issues such as poor performance or retirement plans in an open way, free from worry that it will be used in evidence in a tribunal claim

And the government has said it is still looking at the option of compensated no-fault dismissals for micro-businesses (but it is not publishing any proposals at this time, it remaining a controversial suggestion raised in the Beecroft Report). According to an article in the Financial Times published before Vince Cable’s speech, the government intends to call for evidence on the implications of no-fault dismissals for micro-businesses, but at the time of writing I have not seen the text of Vince Cable’s speech to confirm it.

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

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