May 2016 Employment Update


ACAS: Results Published

The results of ACAS’ independent study into the conciliation process show high levels of satisfaction with the service.

Since 2014 it has been mandatory for any claimant to contact ACAS before they are able to present a claim to the employment tribunal. The “early conciliation” process through ACAS is intended to encourage settlement at an early stage in any dispute and reduce the number of claims that have to proceed to the tribunal.

The results suggest that this process is proving successful, and these are some highlights:

UPDATE: Employment Tribunal Fees

A post implementation review of tribunal fees is currently being carried out by the government, which was announced in June 2015. The results are still awaited.

In the meantime, the House of Commons Library has published a briefing note regarding the fees (which you can access here). Current statistics still suggest that the volume of claims is 65-70% less than the volume of claims filed before fees were introduced, which means that discussions about the detrimental impact the fees have had on access to justice for all still continue.

Finally, the legal challenge to the introduction of fees from Unison is still outstanding as they were granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court earlier this year. This is expected to be heard in December 2016. Watch this space!

Emails & Working Time

The French National Assembly have voted to pass a Bill restricting employees from sending e-mails outside of working hours. The proposal suggests that businesses with more than 50 employees will be required to draw up a charter setting out the hours when employees should not send e-mails and has now been passed to the second stage for review. It will be interesting to see whether France decides to implement legislation on this basis (they already have agreements in the technology sector with workers unions banning work emails after 6pm) and whether this has an impact on other European countries.

The Queen’s Speech

On 18 May 2016, the Queen’s Speech set out the government’s legislative priorities for the 2016-17 parliamentary session.

The main issue that will significantly impact on employment law is the proposed British Bill of Rights. This would reform the current UK human rights framework detailed in the Human Rights Act 1998. The purpose the proposed Bill is to continue to protect fundamental human rights and to give better protection against abuse of the system and misuse of the human rights legislation. The intention is that the rights to be set out in the Bill will still be based on the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights but will take account of the tradition of common law that has developed through the courts.

The proposal is yet to be published and a full consultation will follow.

New Legislation: Immigration

The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No.1) Regulations 2016 were made on 23 May 2016 to bring into force the following on 12 July 2016:

There are still some provisions of the immigration act that do not yet have a commencement date, so again, watch this space!

If you are responsible for HR matters within your business (or interested in employment law discussion), please contact us to attend the monthly HR Network sessions run by Julie Taylor from GL and Michelle Bailey from People Essentials. The next Newbury meeting is on Monday 11 July at 5pm and the same time in Maidenhead on Monday 6 June 2016.


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