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Changes to Employment Law this summer

30th June 2013
A number of changes to employment law come into effect this summer.
Under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 changes are made to the law on whistleblowing.
Firstly the law removes any qualifying period of employment before an employee can bring a claim of unfair dismissal where the reason for dismissal is the employee's political views or affiliations.
Further changes to the whistleblowing rules include changes to the requirements over such claims. The legislation provides that disclosures (acts of whistleblowing) will not be protected by the law unless they are made in the "public interest". This should address concerns that many such claims have been personally motivated rather than in the genuine public interest.
The requirement that the disclosure should be made in "good faith" will change, so that instead of it being a requirement for such a claim, the Tribunal will be able to reduce compensation by up to 25% if it concludes that the claim has not been made in "good faith".  
The legislation will also change the date from which changes to the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will take effect, from February each year to April. This means that the next change will take effect in April 2014. Under new rules the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be either £74,200 or the claimant's annual salary, whichever is the LOWER. This is expected to take effect at the end of July 2013. In reality we are of the view that this change will make little difference to the awards actually made by the Employment Tribunals, where the average compensatory award is very much lower than this. It will however make a difference to settlements of claims involving high earners.
Fees in the Employment Tribunal will come into effect from the end of July 2013.
The legislation will introduce further changes during the remainder of the year.
If you need advice on these changes please do not hesitate to contact Hallett Employment Law Service Ltd.  
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