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RED TAPE By: Gordon

The government launched a Red Tape Challenge in 2011, with a particular spot light on employment law. The aim of this was to simplify and improve the system by reforming employment law to assist businesses and boost economic recovery.

The changes have been far reaching looking at workplace disputes, the employment tribunal and extending flexible working. Some changes are being considered and some future proposals are being consulted on.

Employment Tribunal

The majority of businesses will face the employment tribunal at some stage and the government has implemented some changes to overhaul the employment tribunal system and further proposals are in the pipeline. Some of the current changes are as follows:-

Unfair Dismissal

Currently employees with one year’s continuous employment may bring a claim for unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal. However, for those whose employment starts on or after 6th April 2012 they will have to wait two years before being able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

Deposit Orders

Deposit orders can be the secret weapon of any employer in defending a claim in the employment tribunal and the maximum deposit order has been increased if a claimant has little prospect of success, from £500 to £1,000. This is for cases presented on or after 6th April 2012.

Cost Awards

As all businesses will be aware, one of the potential headaches of pursuing the matter all the way to the employment tribunal is that, in the majority of cases, each party bears its own legal fees. However, this is set to change for all cases presented on or after 6th April. The maximum amount of costs an employment tribunal can award has now been increased from £10,000 to £20,000.

We will report and further updates in this important area of law as and when they happen.

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