Significant changes are being made to UK employment law with effect from 29 July 2013.  These form part of a raft of legislative changes being introduced throughout 2013, details of which are summarised in the table that follows.

Effective Date                          Employment Law Change

6 April 2013 

  • Collective redundancy consultation. The minimum period before any redundancies can take effect is reduced from 90 to 45 days, if 100 or more redundancies are proposed. 

25 June 2013 

  • Whistleblowing regime. This regime now only protects workers who make disclosures (whether in good faith or otherwise) which they reasonably believe to be in the public interest. For further details, see our previous alert
  • Political beliefs and affiliations. Employees dismissed by reason of their political beliefs or affiliations can now claim unfair dismissal without any minimum period of service.

29 July 2013 

  • Employment Tribunal fees. The new Employment Tribunal fee regime comes into effect. For further details, see our previous alert.
  • Employment Tribunal rules. A new set of procedural rules comes into force for Employment Tribunal claims. In addition, new claim (ET1) and response (ET3) forms are also expected imminently, use of which will be mandatory. Employers should ensure that they use the latest form as published on the Ministry of Justice website.
  • Unfair dismissal compensation cap. This will be changed to the lower of the current cap (£74,200) or 52 weeks’ pay, and will apply to dismissals with an effective termination date after the implementation date. Parliament is expected to implement the change with effect from 29 July 2013.
  • Confidential settlement negotiations. Employers will now be able to initiate “pre-termination negotiations” at any time, even if they are not seeking to resolve an existing dispute with an employee. Such negotiations will remain confidential and will not be admissible as evidence in ordinary unfair dismissal cases, unless there has been “improper conduct”. For further information, see the new guide to settlement agreements published by ACAS.
  • Settlement agreements. Compromise agreements will be renamed “settlement agreements”, although the substantive requirements for the creation of a valid compromise/settlement agreement will remain otherwise unchanged.

1 September 2013 

  • Employee shareholders. The new “employee-shareholder” regime comes into effect. For further details, see our previous alert.