May 2015 Employment Law Update


UPDATE: The Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech was delivered on 27 May 2015 and included various proposals that will impact on employment law. The main plans highlighted were:

  1. The introduction of a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act 1998;
  2. A new Trade Unions Bill to reduce disruption caused by strikes;
  3. Increasing the provision of free childcare to up to 30 hours for working parents of children aged between three-four years old (for 38 weeks of the year);
  4. New immigration legislationto make it a criminal offence to employ illegal workers and so it will be illegal to only advertise vacancies abroad. There are also plans for a new enforcement agency;
  5. Plans to link the personal income tax allowance to the national minimum wage to ensure that those who work 30 hours a week on the NMW will not pay income tax. Also, the income tax and national insurance rates will not increase for the next five years;
  6. Caps on public sector exit payments will be introduced under the Enterprise Bill and plans to reduce regulation on small businesses.
  7. Creating three million apprenticeships in the next five years and new statutory reporting duties for ministers on progress towards this and full employment; and
  8. An Extremism Bill was proposed which will include requirements on employers to check whether individuals are extremists and bar them from working with children.

BUDGET 2015: Have your say

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the next Budget will be on Wednesday 8 July 2015, and the government is seeking views from the public about what should be in it. You can add your thoughts here:

Grievance & disciplinary hearings

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an employer was not obliged to put a disciplinary process on hold whilst an employee grievance was being dealt with.

In this recent case, the employee claimant was employed as a bus driver and subject to disciplinary proceedings as a result of poor driving. During these proceedings, the claimant made allegations about the employer’s managers. However, the employer continued with the disciplinary proceedings and went on to dismiss the employee.  The Employment Tribunal found that the claimant had been fairly dismissed.

On appeal, the employee argued that the disciplinary procedure should have been put on hold whilst the allegations were investigated.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected the employee’s submission. This case shows a dismissal will not automatically be deemed unfair if an employer fails to postpone disciplinary proceedings where an employee has raised a grievance. However, this will always depend on the specific circumstances and facts of the individual situation and therefore the employer should always ensure that the risks of continuing without suspending disciplinary proceedings should be carefully assessed.

CHARITY REVIEW: Whistleblowing claims

Public Concern at Work (PCAW) has reviewed 2,969 employment tribunal judgments that involved whistleblowing claims and were handed down between 2011-2013. The review was carried out to determine “whether the law is doing whistleblowers justice”, following various changes to whistleblowing laws.

Key findings from the review include:

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