Employment Law Update June 2013

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 begins to come into force from 25 June 2013, making important changes to employment law and tribunal procedure. The Act comes into force in stages:

Some of the provisions coming into force on 25 June 2013 are:

Whistleblowing rights: A “public interest” requirement will be introduced in relation to whistleblowing claims.  Claims will only be allowed where the basis of the disclosure is “in the public interest.”  The requirement for a disclosure to be made “in good faith" will be removed; although compensation will be reduced by up to 25% if the disclosure was not made in good faith.  Employers will also be vicariously liable where workers victimise a fellow worker who has made a protected disclosure.

Dismissal for political opinions: The two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will be removed where the reason for dismissal is the employee's political opinions or affiliation.

Agricultural Wages Board: The Agricultural Wages Board whose role is to determine the minimum wage for workers employed in agriculture in England and Wales, will be abolished. 

Procedures and costs of deciding tribunal cases: There are provisions within the Act to simplify the procedures and costs of deciding tribunal cases.  This is likely to include:

  • The introduction of "legal officers" to hear particular types of tribunal claims if all parties agree;
  • Cases going before the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be heard by a judge sitting alone, unless a judge directs otherwise. There will also be greater flexibility in the use of deposit orders and changes to the use of costs orders and payments for preparation time.
  • The limit imposed on the unfair dismissal compensatory award to have an individual cap of 12 months' pay, which will apply where this amount is less than the overall cap.  

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