From today, 29 July 2013, the following provisions will come into force under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act:
- Renaming of compromise agreements as "settlement agreements". This change will be accompanied by new rules on pre-termination negotiations, which are to be finalised later this year.
- Where “pre-termination negotiations” between an employer and employee have taken place, such evidence will now be inadmissible in ordinary unfair dismissal disputes. This will not apply if the employee has alleged he or she has been automatically unfair (for example on grounds of taking maternity leave or blowing the whistle), or in discrimination claims.
- Tribunal fees will now be payable at the time of submitting ET1 claim forms – see our previous article for further details.
- The new Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure will bring in various measures such as a “sift” stage in the tribunal process with an expansion of the Tribunal’s powers to strike out claims with no reasonable prospects of success, and updated ET1 and ET3 forms. Under the new rules, there will be a single preliminary hearing, combining pre-hearing reviews and case management discussions.
- A reduced unfair dismissal cap: this will now be set at the lower of the current limit (£74,200) or one year's gross pay. The new limit will apply to all claims brought after today (where the effective date of termination is after 29 July 2013) i.e. it will not apply to live claims.