We're keen to keep our marketing clients up to date with the juicy bits of employment law (without all the boring detail) and already work closely with Nick at CCS so asked him if he'd kindly pen a few words on the latest stuff you need to know about....so here it is! Employment law reform has been one of the Coalition Government’s hot topics over the last year and is likely to affect many SME's in the marketing and creative industries. Branded as an attempt to encourage business to create more jobs, the Coalition wants businesses to be freed of the shackles of regulation and to be able to develop their businesses without fear of Tribunal claims. So-called radical changes will be introduced to both employment law and the Employment Tribunal system - a system that is estimated to cost the taxpayer £84 million each year. The reforms have already begun.
The 1-year continuous service requirement for bringing an unfair dismissal claim was increased to 2 years with effect from 6 April 2012. Next summer, the Coalition will introduce a Tribunal fee tariff similar to the fees that have been paid in the Civil Courts for many years. Claimants will be required to pay set fees at specific stages of the litigation. The possibility of costs orders against either party is set to increase as Employment Judges are told to get strict on those with hopeless cases. However, the force of these provisions may be diluted by the fact that the ability to pay fees or costs will be means tested. Those Claimants without means are less likely to be required to pay. Recently, the Chancellor announced plans for ‘owner-employee’ contracts. This involves the novel concept of employees being given a financial stake in their employer’s business in exchange for agreeing not to pursue various Tribunal claims including unfair dismissal. Would your business consider giving away a stake worth between £2,000 and £50,000 - which you will then have to buy back for a ‘reasonable price’ after the employee leaves? The Coalition will consult on the finer details before ‘owner-employee’ contracts are permitted from April 2013 but we're not quite sure why either party (employer or employee would be interested...). So will these measures work? The impact of the proposed changes is likely only to be felt as we head into 2014. It will be interesting to see if the reforms are overseen by the same Government that introduced them. Nick Wilson is responsible for the employment law service at Crooks Commercial Solicitors Limited, a specialist commercial law firm with experience in many sectors including recruitment. Contact Nick on 01924 669159, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ccs-law.co.uk.