The Employment Act 2008 received Royal Assent on 13 November 2008. Amongst other things, the Act will repeal the statutory dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures and give tribunals discretion to increase or reduce awards by up to 25% if either the employer or employee have unreasonably failed to comply with the new ACAS Code of Practice. These provisions are expected to come into force on 6 April 2009.

For further information about the content of the Act see our e-bulletin: Employment Bill. Other than the provisions relating to employment agencies, which will also come into force on 6 April 2009, it has not yet been specified when the remaining provisions of the Act will come into force.

Final ACAS Code

The new ACAS Code of Practice has now been published in its final form and approved by the Secretary of State. It will come into force on 6 April 2009 when the Employment Act 2008, which has now received Royal Assent, will abolish the statutory dispute resolution procedures.

The final version of the ACAS Code of Practice takes into account a number of criticisms which were levelled at the draft version and, in particular, puts obligations on employees to raise and deal with issues promptly, to put grievances in writing and to make every effort to attend disciplinary and grievance meetings. For more details on the differences between the final and the draft versions of the Code, see our special e-bulletin: Final version of new ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures approved.