Workplace Dispute Resolution Changes

Resolving workplace disputes without heading straight to the employment tribunal was one of the goals of the Red Tape Challenge. Manchester and Cambridge have been chosen to trial a scheme of mediation networks for small and medium sized businesses, which is due to be rolled out across England and Wales.

Continuing with a theme of resolving workplace disputes, the Government intends to require employees to submit details of their claim to ACAS before submitting any claim. Although, in practice, this could be a good thing, it is thought unlikely to be introduced until at least April 2014.

Although these proposals are being presented as ‘employer friendly’, the Government has proposed that some time in the future, it will introduce a financial penalty for employers who lose at the tribunal. Such awards range from £100 to a maximum of £5,000, although if paid within 21 days, they are reduced by 50%. No implementation date has been given at this stage.

Another area of focus for the Governments is an intention to reduce the ‘fear factor’ that employers can experience whilst hiring new employees – further announcements on this matter are expected during 2012.

We will update you on further Employment Law developments in future news updates, however, if you would like to discuss how these proposed changes could impact your business, and the best ways to prepare for them, please contact Sarah Smith on 020 8891 6141.