Employment law reform jigsaw update: where do the pieces now fit?

22 October 2013

Employment law reform has been in the Coalition Government's sights since it came to power. Its 'comprehensive employment law review' has resulted in an ever-increasing number of reform announcements and public consultations.

Employment law reform has been in the Coalition Government's sights since it came to power. Its 'comprehensive employment law review' has resulted in an ever-increasing number of reform announcements and public consultations.

All these changes and an ever shifting timetable makes it difficult to keep up. Where are we now? For a quick, up-to-date reference chart of the changes now in force and those yet to come see our 'Employment law reform snapshot'.

As we entered 2013, we had a fairly clear picture of the reforms to come. Many reforms came into force this summer, such as the introduction of tribunal fees and the significant revision of the whistleblowing regulations, to name but two. But there is much more on the way.

Since our last update in June, Employment law reform jigsaw update: where are we now on what's changing and when?, more detail of the changes and their timing has emerged. The long awaited revision of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 is coming albeit not as extensive as originally expected. See our alert TUPE: Service provision change is here to stay (and other good news).

On the discrimination law front we have had the repeal of the third-party harassment provisions, see our alert, The repeal of third-party harassment - so where does this leave employers? However, other changes to discrimination law have been pushed back, such as the removal of discrimination questionnaires.

The raft of the changes to the tribunal rules are also to be added to soon. In June, the Government said it had "no current plans" to implement the power enabling tribunals to impose financial penalties of between £100 and £5,000 upon employers who lose an employment tribunal claim with 'aggravating features'. However, earlier this month Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson 'tweeted' that this power will now come into force in April 2014.

New areas for potential reform are also emerging, such as the use of zero-hour contracts, see our alert Zero-hour contracts under the spotlight. The Government is consulting on further revision of the whistleblowing provisions. Further changes under consideration include extending protection to cover 'blacklisting' of whistleblowers and more controversially, the introduction of US style financial incentives.


NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Information made available on this website in any form is for information purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. Gowling WLG professionals will be pleased to discuss resolutions to specific legal concerns you may have.