The British Government has announced new plans to improve the way in which workplace disputes are resolved alongside an “Employer’s Charter” designed to give businesses more confidence to take on workers and support growth.
The Government is proposing reforms to address recent concerns raised by businesses that Employment Tribunals have become too costly and take too much time, placing unnecessary strains on small businesses.
The Employer’s Charter aims to dispel many of the myths about what an employer can and can’t do in managing their staff reasonably, fairly and lawfully. It will provide clarity for employers on what steps they can take when handling workplace issues with staff.
Welcoming the announcement, the PM said:
“A critical element of the Government’s growth strategy is to create the conditions which allow businesses, especially smaller businesses, to flourish and expand, by reducing regulation and maintaining a flexible and dynamic labour market.
“Today’s announcements on reforms to employment law are among the first conclusions of our Government-wide growth review, and highlight our determination to ensure that employment law is no longer seen as a barrier to growth, while making sure that employees and employers are treated fairly.
“Giving businesses the confidence to take on somebody new will be a real boost to the economy, and help generate the sustainable growth we need.”
Key changes being proposed include an increase in the qualifying period before workers can bring a claim for unfair dismissal from one to two years. This reflects concerns raised by businesses that existing legislation weighed against them when making employment decisions.
The Government will also consult on introducing fees for bringing a tribunal claim following concerns that the current system leads to a large number of unmerited or vexatious applications.