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Employment update

Sue Ashtiany considers the provisions of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the right to representation during the disciplinary process, employers’ contractual obligations and TUPE

11 June 2012

Employment reform

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which will usher in a new ‘ERRA’ in employment law, had its second reading on 11 June. The main changes will evidently “improve our employment tribunals” and “scrap unnecessary red tape and help ensure that people who work hard and do the right thing are rewarded”. On the claims side, they include compulsory pre-claim ACAS conciliation and an extension of time for filing the claim if conciliation fails, a feature which will hopefully not create a whole field of satellite litigation about time limits. Determination of low-value claims by agreement without a hearing, and provision for most appeals to be heard by a judge alone in the EAT.

As to substantive provisions, the bill gives powers to the secretary of state to reduce the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal – currently £72,300 – potentially to as lo...

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