Further details of the employment proposals in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill are emerging as the Bill is debated in Parliament. The following details have been announced:
- draft templates, model letters and ‘principles of guidance’ will be published for employers and employees to use when negotiating settlement agreements (the new term for ‘compromise agreements’);
- employers will be able to offer a settlement agreement before a formal dispute has arisen and be legally protected from this offer being used as evidence in tribunal proceedings;
- offers made and discussions held in the context of negotiating termination of employment will not be admissible during tribunal proceedings in cases of unfair dismissal. However, tribunals will have the discretion to override this rule where they consider that anything said or done was ‘improper’. This form of ‘protected conversation’ will not apply in cases of automatic unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract.
It has also been confirmed that the much-publicised concept of ‘compensated no fault dismissals’ will not be pursued.