On 21st May 2012, the controversial Beecroft Report was published by the UK Government. The report had been commissioned to explore whether any areas of employment law could be simplified in an effort to kick-start the economy and create jobs.
The report’s proposals include:
Reform of unfair dismissal with suggestions including scrapping existing unfair dismissal laws, streamlining the dismissal process and enabling compensated no-fault dismissal – a contentious plan which creates a situation of fair dismissal as long as the employer has provided full notice and statutory redundancy pay.
Enabling businesses with fewer than 10 employees to opt-out of a number of employment laws, including unfair dismissal, pensions auto-enrollment and flexible working. Businesses with fewer than 5 employees could be automatically exempted from pensions auto-enrollment.
Capping compensation for employees who make a discrimination claim.
Extending the period in which an employee can be dismissed without being able to claim unfair dismissal, to beyond two years (following very recent changes which increased the time-frame from 1 to 2 years).
Reducing the consultation period for collective redundancies to 30 days from the current 90 days (for redundancies affecting 100 or more staff). If the company is already facing insolvency this period could be reduced to an emergency 5 days.
Simplifying employment tribunals and introducing fees.
Amending the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) by allowing harmonisation of terms for employees whose employment is being transferred to a new employer.
Reviewing the abolition of a default retirement age.
Simplifying work permits so that employers no longer have to check the immigration status of employees.