The Queen’s Speech unveiled a number of proposed changes to employment regulation that could have a significant impact on employers of all shapes and sizes.
The speech, which sets out government plans for the year ahead, included proposals for two business Bills relating to tribunal reform, dispute resolution and shared parental leave, as well as measures aimed at addressing the thorny subject of executive pay.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will, among other things, include proposals for an overhaul of the workplace dispute resolution system, which is designed to enable disputes to be more easily resolved. This will be achieved by encouraging parties to use conciliation rather than proceeding to tribunal.
Under the proposals, claimants would lodge details of their claim with Acas, giving all parties the opportunity to engage in conciliation and renaming compromise agreements as “settlements”.
XpertHR FAQs on workplace disputes:
- Can an employer ask a claimant who has brought an employment tribunal claim against it to take part in mediation?
- Can an employer deal with a grievance informally?
- Once employment tribunal proceedings have been started, does an employer have to go through Acas to make an offer to settle the case, or can it contact the claimant directly?
- In what circumstances can a misconduct issue be resolved informally?
The Government has already completed the consultation process on reforms to the tribunal system, including proposals to: tackle weak tribunal claims; introduce fees for bringing employment tribunal claims; and introduce financial penalties for employers that have been found to have breached an individual’s rights.
XpertHR FAQs on tribunals:
Pay and benefits
In addition, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will include proposals on executive pay, such as handing more power to shareholders and remuneration committees to set executive pay and relating it more closely to business performance.
XpertHR FAQs on pay and benefits:
Parental leave and flexible working
The Children and Families Bill will propose a new parental leave system, under which parents will be able to swap their parental leave following the birth of a child, and mothers will be allowed to return to work earlier following maternity leave by transferring remaining time off to their partners. The Bill will also include measures to extend flexible working to all employees.
XpertHR FAQs on parental leave:
XpertHR FAQs on flexible working:
- Do employees have the automatic right to change to a more flexible working pattern?
- Which employees are eligible for the statutory right to request flexible working?
- How should an employer respond to a request for flexible working?
- What should an employer do if an employee who has already submitted a statutory flexible working request subsequently seeks to amend the request?