Employers face bigger fines at employment tribunals if they fail to follow a statutory code of practice under proposed new laws.
The Employment Bill gives tribunals the power to increase compensation by 25% if an employer ‘unreasonably fails’ to follow a statutory code of practice.
The new law also scraps the statutory dismissal and grievance procedures. The abolition will mean a return to the old law and the requirement for a fair procedure.
In cases of unfair dismissal, that will mean that tribunals revert to the Polkey principle. This is when an employee is dismissed without use of a fair procedure the tribunal will be able to take into account the likelihood of the dismissal having taken place anyway.
In addition, a raft of new measures will be introduced which encourage early resolution of disputes. This includes extending Acas’s powers of conciliation and the removal of the fixed conciliation period.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Business, Employment and Regulatory Reform said the government was aiming to bring the new legislation into force in April 2009.