Forthcoming Employment Law/HR Changes

We reveal the changes which will take effect over the next few months which all employers should be aware of. 

Early ACAS Conciliation Scheme - 6 April 2014:  

It has been confirmed that early conciliation through ACAS will be mandatory for almost all employment tribunal claims presented on or after 6 May 2014 (there will be transitional provisions applying to claims presented on or after 6 April 2014). A claimant who wishes to make a claim to an employment tribunal will need to firstly register their claim with ACAS. ACAS will then offer conciliation to establish whether the issue can be resolved without the need for employment tribunal proceedings.  Once ACAS receives the information, they will contact the claimant (within one working day) and obtain further details. ACAS will then contact the employer to see if a resolution can be found. If no resolution is reached, ACAS will provide the claimant with a certificate permitting him/ her to issue their claim. The claim cannot be issued without the certificate number. The Early Conciliation stage will normally last 28 days, and in the interim the normal time-limits to issue claims will be stopped. Further information is available at: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4028  

Discrimination questionnaires to be abolished - 6 April 2014  

The compulsory completion of discrimination questionnaires under statute will be repealed on 6 April 2014. To assist with the new legislation-free process, ACAS has issued separate guidance on how to ask and respond to questions of discrimination in the workplace: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/m/p/Asking-and-responding-to-questions-of-discrimination-in-the-workplace.pdf

Criminal Offences Rehabilitation Periods - applied from 10 March 2014 

The periods after which convictions are “spent” for the purpose of application for employment have been reduced from 10 March 2014. The reductions are retrospective, meaning that past convictions will be rehabilitated sooner. The new rehabilitation periods are set out at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reforms-to-help-reduce-reoffending-come-into-force  

Extension to flexible working request rights - 30 June 2014

It is expected but not yet confirmed that the extension of the right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees, not just carers or parents of children under the age of 17, will take force from 30 June 2014. In addition, the current statutory prescribed arrangements will be replaced by an ACAS Code of Practice which will require employers to consider all applications reasonably and within reasonable timeframes.

If you have any questions about the contents of this bulletin or require more detailed information, please contact James Johnson.