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Government plans tribunal reform

Government plans tribunal reform

The Government has unveiled a series of proposals aimed at resolving workplace disputes without the need for employment tribunals.

Ministers are looking at ways to reduce the number of claims by encouraging settlements between staff and their employers.

One of the most controversial proposals could see employees only able to claim unfair dismissal after two years, instead of the current period of one year.

It is hoped that such a move could reduce the number of claims by up to 4,700 a year.

Other proposals under consideration include higher financial penalties for employers that breach workers' rights, and withdrawing expenses from hearings to encourage earlier settlements.

Meanwhile, hearings could take place before a single employment judge and witness statements may be taken as read in an effort to reduce the time needed to complete a settlement.

The plans are being considered as part of the Government's ‘Resolving Workplace Disputes’ consultation, which closed in April.

A response on the consultation is due in the autumn.

The Road Haulage Association has criticised the plan to double from one year to two the qualification period before an employee can claim unfair dismissal, saying the move would have little positive impact.

Bob Monk, general secretary of the United Road Transport Union, said: “A change that forces an employee to wait two years before they are protected against unfair dismissal will encourage bad employment practices. If a dismissal is unfair, it is no less likely to be unfair on day one than it is one or two years later.”

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