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Employment Law Journal: March 2013

Glenn Hayes analyses the government’s plans to change the cap on unfair dismissal compensation and reform workplace dispute resolution

The government is midway through its self-proclaimed employment law review – a process that aims to improve ‘every stage of the employment process’ and to ‘remove unnecessary business burdens and obstacles to growth’.

Employers should welcome the government’s positive response to the review of sickness absence, says Adam Lambert

The government’s Employer’s Charter is not a very helpful document. Despite the publicity surrounding its introduction in January 2011, it cannot expect to tell good employers anything they don’t already know in its two large-print pages. In particular, it grossly oversimplifies the steps involved in managing sickness absence.

Fieldfisher

Richard Kenyon and Lee Harding examine the government’s proposals to scrap the service provision change test and the requirement to provide employee liability information

On 17 January 2013 the coalition government issued a consultation on proposed changes to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). Arising from the government’s review of employment law and its Red Tape Challenge, the proposals aim to ‘improve’ and ‘simplify’ TUPE ‘for all parties involved’.

Employment businesses and agencies could become effectively unregulated if government inspections are removed, warns Adam Hartley

The recruitment sector is a vital part of the UK labour market. It comprises both employment agencies, which introduce work seekers to employers to be employed directly (head-hunters), and employment businesses, which employ or engage temporary workers to work under the direction and supervision of another employer (temping agencies). Office for National Statistics figures indicate that the recruitment sector places over 1.6 million people into work each year and contributed £22bn to the economy in 2011. With companies increasingly seeking more flexible and mobile staff, and with workers willing to move across borders under varied work arrangements, private recruiters have become even more important to the efficient functioning of labour markets.

Catherine Drinnan and Kendall Brown look at the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the conflict between individuals’ human rights and the law on disclosing criminal convictions

The Court of Appeal recently considered whether blanket disclosure of all past criminal convictions and cautions of individuals applying for jobs involving contact with children or vulnerable adults infringed their Article 8 right to private and family life. This case weighed up the social policy aim of rehabilitating individuals with criminal records to allow them to move on with their lives against the overriding need for disclosure of criminal convictions to protect vulnerable members of society.

Oliver Spratt and Louise Mason consider the implications of the European Court of Human Rights’ decision in Eweida

Judgment in Eweida & ors v United Kingdom was handed down on 15 January 2013. The decision was met with near unprecedented press coverage for an employment law issue: Nadia Eweida was pictured in newspapers from the Guardian to the Daily Mail, her cross very much in evidence. Even the prime minister joined in on the commentary, tweeting that he was:

Recent case law and government proposals could lead to a turning point in equal pay claims, suggests Brona Reeves

As the evidence sessions of the Women in the Workplace parliamentary inquiry drew to a close in January, it was clear that one key issue that needs addressing is equality of pay. As Mummery LJ said recently in Haq v Audit Commission [2012], equal pay litigation has reached ‘almost epidemic proportions’, yet women continue to earn less than men (by 9.6% on average, according to the Office of National Statistics, November 2012). So, at the age of 42, the legislation seems to be having a mid-life crisis, but a proposal by the government to require employers to undertake equal pay audits could see it get a new spring in its step.