Employment Law Review 2010/11
Our Annual Review provides a detailed summary of developments in employment and business immigration over the last 12 months including important cases and changes in legislation.
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2010 marked a change of Government. The most striking feature of this change has been the Coalition Government’s commitment to adopting the majority of legislative initiatives on employment law introduced by the previous Labour Government, and in some instances, going beyond this. Such developments include the Government’s implementation of the Equality Act 2010 which included some controversial provisions; abolishing the default retirement age when the previous Labour Government had not made up its mind; implementing and improving upon certain maternity/paternity leave change entitlements; extending rights on flexible working for working parents and going beyond this by considering a general principle of flexible working for all; implementing the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 without making any changes as one might have expected; and implementing the Bribery Act 2010 (the Government in this regard has now promised a review and we are still awaiting guidance). The Coalition Government appears to be about improving workers’ rights. The Government has launched consultation exercises on extending flexible working rights, directors’ remuneration and on the vetting and barring schemes.
But there is another side to this Government. This is reflected the imposition of limits on migration on non-EU countries; expressions of concern over the inadequacies of the Employment Tribunal system; and the likely increase in the one-year qualifying period of service for two years in respect of unfair dismissal claims. The Government has just announced a consultation period on resolving workplace disputes. The aim is to reduce the number of Tribunal claims or the number going to full hearings. Besides Government initiatives, the FSA has introduced a revised Remuneration Code to apply from 1 January 2011 in respect of relevant Banks and others within the Financial Services sector. This is driven by Government pressure and the EU Capital Requirements Directive. Slightly further away, the auto enrolment scheme in relation to company pensions will commence in 2012.
At EU level, the 2010 Parental Leave Directive must be implemented by 2012. EU Parliament amendments to the Pregnant Workers Directive are still being discussed by the Commission. In December 2010 the EU launched a further consultation on revisions to the Working Time Directive aimed largely at inactive periods of working time and opt-outs from various limits. In short, employment law in 2010 and 2011 is proving as dynamic as ever. With the effects of the recession continuing, and given the Coalition Government’s commitment on private sector growth, it is likely we will see more initiatives during the course of 2011.
The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.