As highlighted in our "Making sense of employment law reform" seminar last week, a significant number of employment law changes have already been announced or proposed. Last week the Government announced yet more changes, building on earlier consultation exercises. Many of these changes will be welcomed by employers.

In particular the Government is suggesting:

  • Introducing a Code of Practice on settlement agreements (the new name for compromise agreements). This would be designed to give employers confidence that if they make an offer of settlement before a formal dispute has arisen and follow the Code of Practice, an employee will not be able to give evidence of the offer at any subsequent tribunal hearing. The Code of Practice will include template offer letters and settlement agreements.
  • A reduction in the general cap on unfair dismissal compensation from the current level of £72,300 and possibly an additional cap on individual compensation of twelve months' pay (if this would result in a lower award than the general cap).
  • More streamlined tribunal procedures, including a more prominent power to allow weak tribunal claims to be dismissed without the need for a full hearing of such claims.

The Government has also published a reponse to the TUPE Call for Evidence undertaken earlier this year and has said that there will be consultation on proposed amendments to TUPE by the end of the year.

The consultation on settlement agreements and compensation levels can be found here. The consultation on tribunal procedures can be found here.