New employment regulations have been put in place this year. Here’s a roundup of some of the major changes.
From 6 April anyone considering making a claim to an Employment Tribunal must first notify ACAS, the employment relations experts. Its new, free conciliation service will help employees and employers to find a solution without the need for a tribunal hearing.
Early Conciliation becomes mandatory from 6 May. Acas says the process ‘will stop the clock on the tribunal time limitation, and allow up to an extra month to attempt to resolve the dispute before people hit the deadline for making a claim’.
Financial Penalties for Employers
From 6 April an Employment Tribunal has the power to order an employer who has lost a case to pay a penalty of between £100 and £5,000 to the government’s Consolidated Fund. The penalty applies to instances where the employer has breached workers’ rights and the breach has one or more ‘aggravating features’.
Discrimination Questionnaire Abolished
The discrimination questionnaire procedure laid down in the 2010 Equality Act has been abolished from 6 April. This enabled employees who felt they were facing discrimination in the workplace to put forward questions to their employers. The statutory questionnaire has been replaced by a non-binding informal process, by which potential claimants can ask for information from their employers. Acas has issued guidance on the subject.
From 30 June there will be new regulations on flexible working. The amendment means that the right to request flexible working will be extended to cover all employees that have completed 26 weeks of service, rather than only those with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and certain types of carer.
Employers will be required to consider all requests in a reasonable manner. However, they will have the right to refuse requests on business grounds.