In our 29 April 2013 blog we informed you of new laws coming into force on 25th June 2013, well today is the day!
Some key changes to note include:
1. Whistleblowing – First, an employee will not be protected from detriment or dismissal for blowing the whistle unless the employee reasonably believes that doing so is “in the public interest”. What is “in the public interest” will be left to Judges to decide but the change is meant to clarify the intention that whistleblowing law was never meant to protect employees ‘ blowing the whistle ‘ about private rights, such as under a contract of employment. Second, to benefit from protection, employees will no longer have to blow the whistle in “good faith”; although tribunals will have the power to reduce any award by 25% if a disclosure is made in bad faith. Third, there are to be minor amendments to the definition of “worker” for whistleblowing purposes, to include for example contractors in various parts of the NHS.
2. Dismissals: Political Opinions – the two year service qualifying period for unfair dismissals will no longer apply where the reason or principal reason for dismissal is, or relates to, an employee’s political opinions or affiliations. This change has been made to redress the shortcomings of UK law highlighted by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of the bus driver who was a member of the BNP in Redfearn v United Kingdom.
3. Employment Appeal Tribunal – proceedings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal will generally be heard by a Judge sitting alone, rather than with additional “wing” members.
4. Annual Adjustments of Statutory Limits – changes to the way certain statutory payments are calculated mean that rates or limits will now be rounded up or down to the nearest whole pound, rather than the nearest £10 or £100 as was the case previously. It is thought that this will prevent future increases above inflation and will limit the financial burden on employers.
If you have any queries please contact a member of the employment team on 01737 854500 or email [email protected]