Reform to employment legislation continues over the summer and into the second half of 2013, <i>HR Headlines</i>

Reform to employment legislation continues over the summer and into the second half of 2013, HR Headlines

The recent legislative changes to whistleblowing protection introduced by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 ("ERRA") has led the UK Government to call for evidence on whether the provisions unaffected by the ERRA could also be amended and revised. It is calling for views (amongst other things) on (i) whether the term "worker" sufficiently covers all those who need to be protected within the whistleblowing regime and (ii) whether a code of practice should be issued for employers so that they understand best practice when protecting whistleblowers. The call for evidence closes on 1 November 2013.

A revised cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal has been the topic of much discussion in the early half of 2013. Subject to Parliamentary approval, a maximum of either (i) a year's salary or (ii) £74,200 – whichever is the lowest, will be introduced on 29 July 2013.

The UK Government has also announced that it intends to introduce new legislation to govern employment agencies and employment businesses. The changes attempt to provide more protection for workers, by for example, (a) ensuring that an employment business does not withhold payment from a temporary worker, (b) providing greater clarity on who is responsible for paying a temporary worker where multiple businesses are involved, and (c) preventing employment businesses and agencies from penalising temporary workers for terminating or giving notice to terminate a contract. In addition, a particular focus on certain sectors (for example, the entertainment and modelling sectors) is expected with additional regulation and protection being provided for those workers. A further consultation will commence once draft legislation is produced.