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Employment Law Journal: September 2012
Dechert LLP

Charles Wynn-Evans commends a comprehensive account of the principles of conflict of laws in the context of employment contracts

Private international law, or what to this reviewer used to be known as conflict of laws, is no longer a subject that employment lawyers can leave behind as a part of their academic studies or ignore as irrelevant in practice. Globalisation and the increased mobility of multinational employers’ workforces have greatly increased the incidence and importance of disputes involving international employment issues.

Christine Young and Hester Cooper consider the legal and practical issues surrounding the introduction of fees in the employment tribunal

The government has published its response to the consultation on charging fees in the employment tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). Although the government had already decided that fees would be introduced, the consultation focused on the details of the fee structure, which is likely to be implemented in summer 2013.

CMS

Sarah Ozanne examines Underhill J’s proposals for improved employment tribunal case-management powers and for a revised procedural code

In November 2010 the government launched its Growth Review to look at what steps each department is taking to create the best conditions for economic growth. One area that the review focused on was the removal of barriers to starting, financing and growing a business, including through job creation and creating a more flexible workforce. As a result, the government introduced its Red Tape Challenge, including its Employment Law Review, looking at policies and regulation that place obligations on employers and assessing whether they can be simplified or better implemented and enforced. Through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the government issued its consultation document, ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’ in January 2011, in which it set out a number of potential measures to achieve early resolution of workplace disputes and to make the employment tribunal system work as effectively as possible if the parties do go to tribunal.

Fladgate LLP

Naomi Oppenheim and Nick Tsatsas review Underhill J’s proposal to broaden the type of claims that the employment tribunal has jurisdiction to hear

Underhill J, the former Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) president, has recently completed his review of the Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004 (ET Rules). The result is a proposed set of new employment tribunal rules, on which formal consultation will take place later this year (see ‘Replacing the rule book’, by Sarah Ozanne, on p). The new rules are intended to be more user-friendly for unrepresented parties, but they are likely to have a far greater impact than merely simplifying the management aspects of employment tribunal claims.

Kate Hodgkiss welcomes a decision that has finally resolved the conflict in previous case law over employees’ right to take or carry over annual leave if they are on long-term sickness absence

Employers have been wrestling with the impact of sick leave on holiday entitlement for a considerable period of time. The headaches have been caused by a number of European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgments interpreting the Working Time Directive (the Directive) in a way that has directly conflicted with the provisions of the UK’s Working Time Regulations 1998 (the Regulations). The stand-off between ECJ case law and UK legislation has led, in turn, to a number of conflicting decisions in the UK courts.

Two contradictory EAT judgments have left it unclear whether a reduction in hours constitutes a redundancy situation, reports Louise Mason

It is, perhaps, a sign of the times that in recent years the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has not addressed the dividing line between a redundancy situation and a reduction in hours. In the current economic climate, employees faced with the prospect of a reduction in contractual hours have, in many cases, been happier to accept such a reduction, and the commensurate cut in income, rather than face redundancy and the challenge of seeking a new role.

Richie Alder and Anna Scott summarise imminent changes intended to scale back the process for vetting staff who work with children and at-risk adults

Various changes to employers’ pre-employment checks will be implemented by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PFA 2012). As of 10 September, the PFA 2012 will usher in changes to the current Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check regime, as well as to the provisions governing ‘regulated activity’ under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA 2006).