The dust is beginning to settle on Vince Cable’s speech launching today’s consultation response. These and the accompanying press releases and calls for evidence cover a lot of ground, but the package as a whole is still heavier on ideas than on concrete workable proposals.
The main exception is the widely-trailed increase in the unfair dismissal qualifying period to two years from April next year. Other measures that will definitely be happening include:
- Allowing employment judges to hear unfair dismissal claims alone, and making this the normal rule in the EAT
- Imposing a financial penalty on employers who lose in the tribunal, based on the total amount of any tribunal award against them
- Increasing to £20,000 the maximum award of costs a tribunal can make without ordering detailed assessment.
Ideas that still need to be developed further include:
- Making ACAS the gatekeeper for new claims, with a bar on issuing a claim until ACAS has had a chance to conciliate
- A fundamental review of the employment tribunals rules of procedure
- The introduction of fees in employment tribunals
- Simplification of compromise agreements
- The introduction of a "rapid resolution regime" for simpler claims.