Four papers have recently been published under the Government’s employment law reform programme.

The ending the employment relationship consultation paper suggests promoting greater use of compromise agreements (to be renamed settlement agreements) by building on the plans to allow “protected conversations” about settlement and using a template agreement alongside model letters and a new statutory code of practice. This is unlikely to bring significant change as the legislation regulating such agreements will not change.

More significant is the imposition of an earnings-related cap on the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal claims. The consultation paper suggests the Government currently favours a cap based on 12 months median earnings which, at just shy of £26,000, would cut the current limit of £72,300 by about two thirds.

The consultation paper on employment tribunal rules assesses the support for the new draft rules of procedure put together by Mr Justice Underhill earlier this year. New ET1 and ET3 forms have also been released.

A further document launched is the TUPE response which emanated from last year’s call for evidence about the effectiveness of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. The response simply highlights the points of concern rather than making substantive proposals, but makes it clear that there will be further policy development.

Perhaps the most significant paper is the no-fault dismissal response ,which rules out the introduction of a no-fault dismissal regime for micro-businesses. Instead, it suggests more guidance is needed to assist small businesses in using the ACAS code of practice and guidance on disciplinary and grievance procedures.