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Changes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

25th June, 2013

Some of the planned changes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 have today come into force.

 

Whistleblowing protection

Various provisions have come into force today relating to whistleblowing. The first new provision states that if the principal reason for dismissal is due to a protected disclosure, the two year qualifying period and cap on compensatory award are now eliminated.
The new provisions also go on to confine whistleblowing protection to disclosures made with the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure that the disclosure is made in the public interest. This will therefore prevent a disclosure alleging a breach of an employee’s contract of employment which would have previously attracted whistleblowing protection. Please note that the disclosure doesn’t have to be in the public interest; it is sufficient that the worker reasonably believes it to be in the public interest.
Furthermore, whistleblowing protection has been extended to those who make disclosures in bad faith. The Tribunal does however, have the power to reduce compensation by 25% if it thinks the disclosure was made in bad faith.

 

Other minor reforms

• Unless the Judge directs otherwise, all hearings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be heard by the Judge sitting alone (without wing members).
• Where the reason for the dismissal is, or relates to, the employee’s political opinions or affiliation, the two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal no longer applies (where the effective date of termination is after 25th June).
• The annual index-linked increase in the compensatory award date will change from February to 6th April (so the next increase will be 6th April 2014).
• Minor changes to Deposit Orders.
• The Secretary of State has the power to reduce the cap on the compensatory award, from the current £74,200 to the lower of a year’s earnings or the national annual median wage (currently about £28,000).
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the changes to Tribunal procedures which come into force on 29 July and the other changes including ACAS Early Conciliation for which the commencement dates have yet to be announced.

For further information and advice on changes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected].

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