We’re taking our annual break from the normal caselaw and legislation round-up this month, which I am sure will come as a relief to many readers, who are likely to be busy with organising/attending/dealing with the aftermath of the Christmas party.
Instead, as a slightly early Christmas present, rather than a pair of slippers or a foot spa that looks suspiciously similar to the one you gave to us last year, here is a brief recap of what has happened this year and a quick look forward to what you can expect in the world of employment law in 2014.
2013 was a particularly busy year for employment legislation with, amongst the many highlights: the reduction in the collective consultation period for redundancies involving 100 or more employees from 90 to 45 days; amendments to the whistle-blowing legislation (addition of a “public interest” element, removal of “good faith”); the introduction of an additional cap of one year’s pay for unfair dismissal compensatory awards; and the introduction of new rules in the Employment Tribunals.
Some of the other changes this year were of massive importance, for example the introduction of fees for Employment Tribunal claims – the fallout from which continues, some were trifling – such as the renaming of “compromise agreements” as “settlement agreements”, and some have proved to be simply baffling – in particular the introduction of employee shareholder status. In the case of employee shareholders, rarely has a change promised so much and delivered so little, with sightings of people actually signing up to the new status being rarer than an X-Factor winner remaining dry-eyed as the silvery confetti rains down.
2014 is already promising to be a bumpy sleigh-ride of legislative upheaval. The New Year celebrations will barely be over when the much-anticipated amendments to TUPE are brought in. Later in the year, a number of measures are to be introduced including:
- ACAS early conciliation;
- repeal of the discrimination questionnaire provisions (to be replaced with ACAS guidance setting out a more informal approach);
- the introduction of penalties in the Employment Tribunals of up to £5,000 where an employer loses; and
- Employment Tribunals having powers to order equal pay audits where gender pay discrimination is established.
We will of course cover these changes in more detail as the year progresses, as well as keeping you updated with the latest employment cases.
In the meantime, as ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any employment law queries.
Until next time, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.