The Employment Bill 2007

01.01.07

The Employment Bill 2007-2008 was published on 7th December and includes the repeal of the existing statutory dispute resolution procedures. Details of the proposed new system are not yet available.

The principal aim of the Employment Bill is to simplify the existing dispute resolution regime whilst encouraging compliance with best practice. No commencement date has been given but commentators believe that the Bill will come into force in April 2009.

The main provisions are as follows:

  • repeal of the existing statutory dispute resolution procedures. This means that dismissals will no longer be automatically unfair if an employer fails to follow the statutory procedures, while employees will not be prevented from bringing tribunal proceedings only because they have not first raised a grievance.
  • employment tribunals are to be given discretionary powers to vary awards by up to 25% if there has been an unreasonable failure by either party to comply with a relevant statutory Code of Practice. The relevant Code will normally be the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, which is to be substantially revised. The government's response to the consultation on the repeal of the statutory procedures is expected over the next few weeks and this should provide some clarification of the likely form of the revised ACAS Code of Practice.
  • clarification of the enforcement framework of the National Minimum Wage through the introduction of unlimited fines, a fairer method of calculating arrears and new inspection powers.
  • strengthening of the employment agency standards enforcement regime via new unlimited fines and additional inspection powers.