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What's New? > News & Press Releases > Keeping tabs on job laws


Apr 12

Keeping tabs on job laws

By: Michael Judkins

Michael Judkins

At Archer & Archer we always see it as important to advise the latest developments and likely developments in the legal world, particularly the constantly changing position on employment issues.

Just before Christmas, the Government announced some ideas which would have eroded by some way the existing protection of employees, including exempting employers with less than 10 staff from liability for unfair dismissal and even going so far as to take away the right to claim altogether, if dismissed for poor work performance.

Neither of these has happened but changes brought in earlier this month should be good news for employers. The Government appears to believe, rightly or wrongly, that for many businesses the current unfair dismissal rules are deterring businesses from taking on more people.

The main change introduced is the increase of the period that staff need to be employed before being able to claim unfair dismissal, and this increases from one to two years. This change will only apply to those who are newly employed on or after the introduction date of April 6, 2012, not to existing staff. It could be argued that employers do not need longer than one year to assess suitability of a new member of staff, but the measure will be welcomed and at the same time will, no doubt, have some effect on reducing the large volume of claims for unfair dismissal currently being brought to tribunals.

There is then a further change worth mentioning which arguably may benefit employers and that is the ability, from now on, for unfair dismissal claims to be heard by an employment judge sitting alone rather than a full three member tribunal. That will exclude the two lay members, each of whom have experience of dealing with employment problems from the point of view of the employer and employee, and so have roles that are both valuable and intended to complement one another. This further change may well increase the efficiency of the current system, and if it can reduce the cost of cases going through the tribunal system will probably be welcomed by most employers.

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek our specific advice.