UK Employment Law to be Streamlined for Employers

by evolvedlegal on September 18, 2012

A new proposal has been made by the UK government in order to make streamlining adjustments to employment law in the UK. Vince Cable, the government’s Business Secretary, made the announcement about the employment law changes which are aimed towards providing companies with a greater confidence and flexibility with regards to managing their workforce. The crux of the change is in order to lower the amount of red tape bureaucracy tying employers to their employees and the proposed changes should speed up the process of ending employment relationships in the event of a breakdown. The cited changes in law should allow improved systems for employers to deal matters, but also will be beneficial to employees too. Included in the list of details announced by the government is:

  • A potential reduction to the amount of compensation which can be claimed for unfair dismissal
  • The backing up of settlement agreements in order to help create a peaceful end on relationships of an employment nature which can be mutually fair and resolved in a consensual way
  • Pending recommendations as to how to potentially improve small business guidance on the Acas code of practice regarding grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • Agreement from Acas to put together a fresh code of practice with a view to have a consultation on how best to move forward and have the changes implemented effectively

In addition to the above, the government proposes to make changes to the employment tribunal, again streamlining processes so as to allow greater power to judges to dismiss weak cases in a much easier fashion than is currently possible.
Scales of Justice

Vince Cable’s Perspective on the Law Changes

In an interview with reporters, Cable stated that there was something of a balancing act between making the processes easier and ensuring that labour rights of a basic nature were protected during the course of the review. He also discussed the UK’s relatively flexible labour market and stated that this was the starting point for the reviews and changes to the legal processes. Cable cited these flexible processes as the reason that over 1 million brand-new private sector positions were created over the past couple of years despite a the plateauing of the economy. Cable ended by acknowledging that more could be done in order to help smaller businesses and reduce the burden of potential employment tribunals.

The Bigger Picture on the Labour Market

The report on this news published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills stated that the UK’s lightly-regulated and flexible labour market was considered to be amongst the best such markets in the world, following closely behind Canada and the US. The article also stated that a recent report published by the World Economic Forum for Global Competitiveness stated that one of the main reasons that the UK has improved within the global rankings for economy by two positions (going from 10th to 8th) is a direct result of this flexible Labour market.

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