People – Employment and Pensions Newsletter
Welcome to the Spring/Summer edition of People
2012 is set to be a significant year as the Government's plans to introduce "radical reform" to employment law start taking shape.
The Queen’s Speech was delivered earlier this month, setting out the Government's proposals for its legislative programme. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will include measures on workplace dispute resolution including encouraging early conciliation of employment disputes by requiring claimants to lodge their claim with ACAS, re-naming compromise agreements as “settlement agreements” and improving the Employment Tribunal system by increasing flexibility and encouraging employer compliance. The Bill also includes proposals to deal with executive pay, including handing more power to shareholders. The Children and Families Bill will also give both parents access to flexible parental leave so that mothers and fathers can share caring responsibilities.
The Government has also published consultation documents which propose the repeal of certain provisions of the Equality Act 2010: third party harassment (i.e. where an employer can be held liable for the harassment of an employee by a third party, such as a client or customer); the power of employment tribunals to make ‘wider recommendations’ to an employer in discrimination cases and the long-established questionnaire procedure.
This edition of People explores a number of topical issues for employers and HR practitioners, including the recent increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal; preparing for the forthcoming Olympics; injury to feelings awards; the application of TUPE to franchisors and the pensions issues arising from Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes.
We hope you enjoy this Spring/Summer edition of People. As always, your feedback is appreciated, so please feel free to email Louise Fernandes-Owen with any comments.
Unfair dismissal qualifying period
With effect from 6 April 2012 the minimum qualifying period of continuous employment for the purposes of claiming unfair dismissal has been doubled to two years. This is a key policy decision in the currently highly politicised arena of employment rights. Click here to read more >
On your marks, get set, go! Get ready for the Olympics
There may be fewer than 70 days left to the 2012 Olympic Games, which hops, skips and jumps off on 27 July, but there is still plenty of time to implement a plan to prepare your business and minimise the impact of challenges that may arise prior to and during the Games. We address the main issues that are likely to arise. Click here to read more >
The price of injured feelings
Discrimination claims can be extremely costly for employers, involving potentially unlimited damages. A key element of nearly all discrimination awards is a sum representing 'injury to feelings'. Estimating damages for injury to feelings can be the 'great unknown' when calculating the potential value of a claim. The relevant legislation is silent on this point and, until 2002, there was little guidance available. Click here to read more >
Franchising TUPE obligations?
The recent case of Meter U Limited v Hardy, Ackroyd and others, on the application of TUPE to franchisors has ruled that if an organisation's business model operates by use of corporate franchisees, rather than employees, TUPE will not protect unwanted transferring employees from dismissal. Click here to read more >
Seldon - the pensions issues
The Supreme Court has recently handed down a decision in Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes which provides useful guidance on the test for when direct discrimination on grounds of age is lawful. This "objective justification" defence must be based on considerations of wider public policy, although the employer's aim must also be legitimate given its own particular circumstances. The means of achieving the aim must also be proportionate for the defence to succeed. Click here to read more >
Making employee ownership mainstream
The Government wants to drive employee ownership into the mainstream British economy. Fieldfisher partner Graeme Nuttall was appointed the Government's independent adviser on employee ownership on 8 February 2012. "I’ve asked Graeme Nuttall to look at these issues in his review of employee ownership, which will report back in July", said Nick Clegg Deputy Prime Minister. Click here to read more >
Employment seminars and workshops – register here
The Government plans to introduce “the most radical reform to the employment law system for decades”.
The coming year may therefore present a range of challenges. Not only will employers need to cope with existing employment law issues in the workplace, they may also be faced with a variety of new proposals which could change their day-to-day work.
We have designed our employment law training programme 2012/2013 to provide support during this period of reform. Combining common employment law issues with the impact of new developments, our programme will be useful for all HR professionals, senior managers and in-house lawyers.
If you would like to reserve your place on any of the workshops and seminars in our programme, please email seminars@Fieldfisher.com, specifying which session you would like to attend. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please contact louise.fernandes-owen@Fieldfisher.com.