Today is a good news day for employers and those working in HR!

The Coalition Government has introduced three significant legislative changes all of which take effect today and should make your life easier:

1. Settlement discussions

The new legislation should makes it easier for employers to have “off the record” conversations with employees about their continued employment with the organisation.

Employers will be able to discuss the potential termination of an employee’s employment, potentially even where there has not been any previous dispute between the parties. Providing that employers comply with the new rules the discussions cannot be referred to in any subsequent unfair dismissal Tribunal case.

The ACAS Code of Practice on Settlement Agreements come into effect today, supporting this change. A copy is available here.

2. Unfair dismissal awards

If you dismiss an employee from today onwards and he or she brings an unfair dismissal claim, the maximum compensatory award will be reduced to £74,300 or one year’s gross pay (whichever is the lower).

3. Tribunal fees

Finally, any Claimant who issues Tribunal proceedings from today onwards will be charged an initial fee for bringing the claim. If the claim proceeds to a hearing a second fee is charged at that point. The Government hopes that the introduction of fees will reduce the number of Tribunal claims being brought.

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