It is expected that there will be changes made to the statutory disciplinary, dismissal and grievances procedures, with the Employment Act 2008 due to come into effect on 6th April 2009. Indeed, the Act will repeal the statutory dispute resolution procedures of 2004, and ring changes which could prove highly significant during the current period of heavy job losses.
The new act makes the “three-step” procedure, which was an unpopular part of the 2004 act, optional rather than mandatory. This means that if an employer begins disciplinary and dismissal proceedings or an employee raises grievances, the old three-step statutory procedure is one option for taking the matter forward; however, it is also not the only option.
Another important aspect of the Act is the revision of the statutory Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Code of Practise, revised through the collaboration with a selection of informed organisations and individuals. The new code outlines principles relating to the handling of grievance and disciplinary matters within the workplace, and applies to both employers and employees.
Employment lawyers are anticipating that the changes rung by the latest employment act will have a particular impact upon how employment tribunals approach dismissal claims. Tribunals will have the power to increase or decrease awards by up to 25 percent, depending on whether the parties involved are deemed to have acted in line with the new Acas Code. The behaviour of employers and employees in disputes could, therefore, potentially come under tight scrutiny as a result of the new legislation.
The introduction of the Employment Act is particularly timely, coming as it does in the early part of a year where unemployment is set to rise to an estimated three million. As such, under the new regulations, employment tribunals handling redundancy cases will have the authority to order full compensation to an employee for the financial losses incurred as a consequence of their employer withholding due payment.
The greater authority of employment tribunals in this area will undoubtedly be welcomed by the increasing number of individuals facing redundancy during this period of economic instability. As a result, seeking sound
Of course, the anxiety created by the financial instability of redundancy may not be eradicated by these changes but in some cases, it is possible for them to at least be eased.
Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.