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Hewett’s Legal Corner- February 2014 #3

New Employment Provisions for April 2014

April 2014 will see a host of new employment provisions appear on the statute book, or disappear as the case may be.

Firstly, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) 2013 will abolish discrimination questionnaires. The arguments for so doing are that collating the information for them was onerous and that the use of ACAS could equally help the parties identify the issues. It has been suggested that the formal questionnaire procedure will be replaced by an “informal approach” which will be set out in ACAS guidance.

Secondly, the Tribunals will have power to impose financial penalties on employers who lose in Tribunal where the employers breach has one or more aggravating factors such as negligence or malice rather than a genuine mistake and which could be awarded even if a financial award has not been made. The minimum penalty is £100.00 with a maximum of £5,000.00.

Thirdly, compulsory pre-claim ACAS conciliation is being introduced. Before bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal claimants will have to submit details of their dispute to ACAS.

They will be afforded pre-claim early conciliation for a one month period. If the conciliation is unsuccessful or refused by either party ACAS produce a certificate to this effect and the claim can continue. Time limits to present a claim to Tribunal are extended by the conciliation period.

Fourthly, the right to request flexible working will be extended from those who qualify as parents or carers, to all employees with at least twenty six weeks continuous employment. In addition the existing statutory procedure for considering requests will be replaced by a far more flexible duty on employers to act reasonably when considering such a request. (The implementation of this has now been delayed.)

Finally, the SSP record keeping obligations are being abolished to enable employers to record in a more flexible manner more suited to themselves. This forms part of the Government’s proposals to change the current sickness absence regime to end the “sick note culture” by introducing a state funded Independent Assessment Service, a revised fit note guidance and a free internet job matching service.

All of these changes form part only of the Government’s continuing revision of employment law in this country.
For further information, please contact:
Richard Green on 01905 721630 Email: rgg@parkinsonwright.co.uk

     


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