Government announces further proposals to "streamline employment law"

The Government has announced two consultations as part of its ongoing review of employment law, seeking views on: the introduction of a "settlement agreement" scheme; a reduction of the level of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal; and proposals to simplify tribunal procedures following Mr Justice Underhill's review of the rules of procedure. 

The first consultation, Ending the employment relationship (on the BIS website), seeks views on:

  • a reduction of the level of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal, with an individual limit of 12 months' pay in conjunction with a reduced overall cap;
  • the introduction of a "settlement agreement" scheme, designed to help end employment relationships in a "fair and consensual way", with a new code of practice written by Acas;
  • guideline "tariffs" for the amount payable under settlement agreements; and
  • a draft template settlement agreement document. 

The Government has also confirmed that it will not be pursuing its proposals to introduce compensated no-fault dismissals for micro businesses. 

The second consultation, Employment Tribunal Rules - review by Mr Justice Underhill (on the BIS website), seeks views on various proposals to reform tribunal rules and procedures, including plans to:

  • simplify and streamline procedures for preliminary hearings and the withdrawal of cases; and
  • encourage and facilitate the use of alternative forms of dispute resolution at various stages of the tribunal process. 

Both consultations close on 23 November 2012. 

The Government has also published its response to its call for evidence on the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), with a commitment to consult on specific proposals by the end of 2012. 


The XpertHR employment law manual sets out the current law on Unfair dismissal: rights on termination and Tribunal procedures and other methods of resolution

The XpertHR "How to" section provides practical guidance on how to compromise employment disputes

Protected conversations: unnecessary and ill thought out? Consultant editor Darren Newman argues that the new clause to be added to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill on protected conversations in relation to unfair dismissal cases is ill conceived.