Employment Bill promises big tribunal fines for employers failing to follow code of practice and end to statutory dismissal and grievance procedures

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.

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