The Government is proposing some significant changes to employment law to make it less of a risk for businesses to employ people, no doubt driven by their need for the private sector to be able to generate jobs for those leaving the public sector.
Some of the proposals are to:
- Allow businesses with fewer than ten employees to bypass the current process and adopt a “compensated no-fault dismissal”
- Permit employees to go to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal after two years’ of service, instead of the current one year (apart from discrimination claims) and insist that ACAS is used before going to a tribunal
- Reduce the consultation period for large scale redundancies from 90 days to 30 days
- A change to the Tupe regulations
There is no consensus on whether these changes will stimulate job creation. What it should do is reduce the number of cases going to an employment tribunal. However, with the requirement to use ACAS first, it might conversely increase the number of ACAS settlements.
“Fast track” employment tribunal award enforcement
In 2010 the previous Government introduced a fast track scheme for the enforcement of employment tribunal awards and ACAS settlements using High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO).
While The Sheriffs Office is delivering a high rate of successful enforcement on these cases, we are finding the “fast” component of the scheme is not working at present.
These cases are processed by the “business centres”, rather than the courts themselves. We are finding that our local business centre is taking between 6 to 8 weeks to process the paperwork required and have had reports of similar delays from other business centres that other HCEOs are using.
The “fast track” scheme needs to be made truly “fast” to protect those with an award from finding unscrupulous former employers taking advantage of the delay to hide or dispose of asserts, put them out of reach or go bust.