Skip to main content

Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012

Volume 736: debated on Wednesday 28 March 2012

Motion to Approve

Moved By

That the draft order laid before the House on 6 February be approved.

Relevant document: 41st Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, considered in Grand Committee on 19 March.

Amendment to the Motion

Moved by

As an amendment to the above motion, at the end to insert “but that this House regrets that the Order will unnecessarily diminish the employment rights of employees, will have little or no effect on employers’ likelihood of taking on new staff, encourages the use of dismissals in place of good management practice, and is opposed by trades unions; believes that employees should always get a written reason for their dismissal; and calls on the Government to place a report into the effect of the changes before Parliament, 18 months after the approval of the Order”.

My Lords, I will again be brief because we have explored the arguments in great detail and I have partially covered them in my previous contribution. I will refer to one aspect, in relation to the contributions of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Scott, on reasons for unfair dismissal. I listened carefully to what the Minister said, and I must admit that, again, this is totally the wrong signal to give employers—that this will somehow be used as a legal document. It is but a small and necessary example of good management practice and something that ought to be an employee right. They should understand why they have been dismissed. If that means that employers have to think long and hard about how they treated an employee, I would hope that that process takes place before, rather than when they produce this letter. That would improve both management and employee rights.

Given the importance of what we believe to be a fundamental change—which, as some of my noble friends have said, would be more proper in primary legislation than a statutory instrument—I wish, for those reasons as well those previously expressed, to test the opinion of the House.

Motion agreed.