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In May 2011, the government published plans to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 in order to resolve uncertainty following a series of problematic European and UK judgements on the rights of workers who are unable to take holiday due to sickness. In essence, the government is proposing that annual leave can be carried over to the next leave year in circumstances where leave cannot be taken at the scheduled time due to sickness or where the employee is sick during scheduled annual leave.
However, since the Government made this announcement, there has been a European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision, KHS AG v Schulte, which said that the EU working time directive does not require unlimited accumulation of holiday when a worker has been on sickness absence for several years. The ECJ said that a 15-month ‘carry over period’ was lawful.
The Government’s firm proposals are expected during the first half of 2012.
The government has commissioned Mr Justice Underhill to conduct a thorough review of the rules of procedure governing employment tribunal proceedings. The review, to be completed by the end of April 2012, will consider whether the rules have become over complex.
Fundamental review of ERT rules – terms of reference
Pre-tribunal conciliation by Acas
The government has said it will be seeking views on a proposal to introduce compensated ‘no-fault’ dismissals for micro- firms with fewer than 10 employees and on ways to slim down existing dismissal procedures for all employers. No further details of these proposals have yet been published.
The government is intending to introduce a discretionary power for employment tribunals to impose financial penalties on employers who lose cases. The level of penalty that the government has suggested is half of the total award made by the tribunal, with a minimum threshold of £100 and a maximum of £5,000. The penalty would be reduced by 50% if paid within 21 days.
The government proposes to consult during 2012 about whether to have a quicker and cheaper ‘rapid resolution’ scheme as an alternative to employment tribunals for simple, low value claims. This would involve a determination by someone other than a judge, relying on paper evidence rather than full hearings.
Posted by on 26/03/2012 13:04:35