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Employment Law Review

Volume 542: debated on Thursday 15 March 2012

The Government are today publishing a call for evidence on dealing with dismissal and on the concept of “compensated no-fault dismissal” for micro businesses. We are also publishing an update on the “Employment Law Review” and a refreshed “Employer’s Charter”. Copies of these documents will be laid in the Libraries of both Houses.

Through this call for evidence the Government are seeking to establish a strong evidence base to help inform our understanding of the current dismissal system. This includes gathering information on awareness and use of the Acas code of practice on discipline and grievance. In particular, we want to understand whether the code could be adapted to make it easier to use and more accessible to smaller businesses.

We are also seeking views on the idea of compensated no-fault dismissal for businesses with fewer than 10 employees and evidence on the potential impacts on employers, employees, and on the broader economy. Under such a system the employer would pay a set amount of compensation to the employee in dismissing the employee, but would not be required to go through a formal dismissal procedure.

Our objective is to strike the right balance between providing flexibility for the employer and ensuring protection for the employee. The Government want to hear the different views of employees, business organisations and all other interested parties in order to undertake a full analysis of the available evidence.

The “Employment Law Review” annual update outlines progress on this cross-Government review, and looks ahead at the forward programme. The review aims to reduce the employment law burdens on business to give them greater confidence to take on more staff and grow. The “Employer’s Charter”, first produced in January 2011, has been refreshed with further pointers on sickness absence and recruitment, in response to the recommendation in the independent review of sickness absence by Dame Carol Black and Sir David Frost. It is designed to dispel myths around employment law and, in particular, give clarity to employers about what they can already do to deal with staff issues in the workplace.