The policy intentions of the Coalition Government take further shape from tomorrow…
Most significantly, the qualifying period for employees to be able to claim unfair dismissal rises from one year to two years for those starting employment on or after 6 April 2012 (Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 SI 2012/989) . A classic demonstration of the impact of political ideology on the legal framework governing employment in the UK. In 1999, the then Labour Government decreased the qualifying period from 2 years to 1 year and now, the Conservative/LibDem Coalition (for that, read Tory Government) puts it back up to 2 years. That makes me feel old!
In addition, there are significant changes to the law governing Employment Tribunals.
Employment judges and tribunals will be able to order a party to pay a witness’s expenses in attending a tribunal, thus moving the responsibility for expenses from the Tribunals Service to the parties to a case; witness statements are to be taken as read unless an employment judge or tribunal directs otherwise; the maximum costs order increases from £10,000 to £20,000; deposit orders for weak claims increase from £500 to £1,000 (Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/468)
Judges may sit alone in unfair dismissal cases (the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2012 SI 2012/988)