New Employment Laws Come Into Force - Expert Comments

David Reid
20th Mar 2009

A number of new employment laws will come into force during April 2009.

 

6 April 2009 – Dispute Resolution Procedures

The statutory dispute resolution procedures will be abolished.

 

This welcome development means an end to the over-complicated Statutory Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure and the Statutory Grievance Procedure. The main effects of this are:

 

Employees raising tribunal claims like constructive dismissal, unauthorised deductions from wages or discrimination will no longer have to submit a grievance before being able to go to tribunal.

 

The three-step Statutory Dismissal Procedure of (1) letter, (2) meeting, (3) right of appeal will no longer apply, although in practice employers who do not follow this procedure will still very likely be unfairly dismissing their employees.

 

Increases or reductions in compensation of between 10% and 50% for failure to follow a statutory procedure will no longer apply. However, this will be replaced by increases or reductions in compensation of up to 25% for failure to follow a relevant code of practice.

 

There are transitional provisions which mean that the existing statutory procedures will continue to apply after 6 April 2009 in some cases where internal procedures were started before that date.

 

The ACAS Code of Practice on discipline and grievance has been affirmed by Parliament and provides guidance on dispute resolution in the workplace, which will come into force on 6 April 2009.

 

6 April 2009 – Extension of Flexible Working to Parents of Older Children

The right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children up to the age of 16.

 

The right will still be to request flexible working (which an employer has a duty to consider) and does not oblige an employer to grant the request. This is a significant extension to the scope of the law and underlines the government’s determination to further promote flexible working patterns for workers with families.

 

It remains important to remember that even if an employer has a legitimate ground for refusing a request under the flexible working law, this will not necessarily provide the employer with a defence to a sex discrimination claim from a female employee, arising out of the same refusal.

 

If you would like any further details about any of the above changes, please contact us at enquiries@justemploymentlaw.co.uk or call us on 0141 331 5150.

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