SUMMER 2013

25 June 2013

  • Under the Enterprise and Regulatory Act 2013, new provisions relating to whistleblowing will come into force on 25 June 2013. A disclosure will now only be protected if it is “made in the public interest”. This removes the requirement of making a disclosure in good faith. If a Tribunal considers that a disclosure was made in bad faith (i.e. motivated primarily by money or spite) then they can reduce any compensation by up to 25%. Also included in the Act, but not coming into force as yet, is section 19 which provides that an employer will be vicariously liable for any detriment caused by another worker. A co-worker may also be joined to a whistleblowing claim as a named Respondent, just as they are currently in discrimination claims.
  • The two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will not apply where the reason for the dismissal was related to the political affiliations or opinions of the employee.
  • All hearings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be heard by judges sitting alone unless otherwise stated.

29 July 2013

  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations Act 2013 will come into force and will apply to claims received by the Respondent from the Tribunal on or after 29 July 2013.
  • Key changes include changes to the ET1 and ET3 forms, case management discussions and pre-hearing reviews being merged into preliminary hearings, initial sift by employment judges to ascertain whether a claim has reasonable prospects and if not whether the claim should be dismissed, and changes to costs rules.
  • The introduction of fees for both Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunals. The claimant will have to pay the initial fee to issue the claim, and a further fee if it proceeds to a hearing. There will be two levels of claim, depending on the type being made. Level 1 claims will be those that are fairly straightforward, including unlawful deduction from wages, holiday pay and redundancy payment claims. The issue fee will cost £160 and the hearing fee will cost £230. Level 2 claims are those which are more complex, meaning they take more time to determine, such as discrimination, equal pay and unfair dismissal claims. The issue fee here shall be £250 and the hearing fee will be £950. The aim of this is to encourage mediation or settlement of disputes between employers' and employees.

Summer 2013

  • The Government aims to replace compromise agreements with settlement agreements with the intention that employers and employees can negotiate exit packages without the concern that their discussions could be used against the employer in the event of an unfair dismissal claim being brought.
  • Employer liability (under the Equality Act) for acts of harassment by third parties against an employer is due to be removed.

AUTUMN 2013

September 2013

  • Employee shareholders are to be introduced under a new type of employment contract, under which employees are able to gain shares in their employer’s business, but only if they give up certain employment rights in return.

1 October 2013

  • The National Minimum Wage is set to increase, subject to the prevailing economic conditions and the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations (from April this year). Click here to see table.

25 October 2013

  • Financial penalties on employers will come into force in respect of any tribunal claim presented after this date where it is decided that an employer has breached any worker’s rights and the breach is considered to have had an “aggravating factor”. The employer, if found guilty of this, will have to pay a penalty which could be between £100 and £5,000 to the Secretary of State. However, like a parking fine, the penalty will be halved if it is paid within 21 days.

Autumn 2013

  • In January 2013, the government issued a consultation on proposed changes to TUPE Regulations 2006 which are supposed to come into force in October 2013. Changes shall include the repeal of requirements referring to service provision changes and employee liability information on a transferor of a business.