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Do you think Employment Law is complicated?

If so, it’s about to get even more complicated!! Next month, there are a number of key changes taking place including the following:

Whistleblowing – important changes

After 6 April 2010, Employment Tribunals will have the power to pass on whistleblowing allegations (made under the Public Interest Disclosure Act) to a prescribed regulator. Claimants will be able to tick a box on their claim form if their claim involves allegations of a protected disclosure. They will also have to indicate whether they wish the tribunal to pass their allegations to a relevant regulatory authority.

Employers raised concerns during the consultation process that this will leave the claimant with additional and improper bargaining power. The Government’s response to this was that this situation can already arise where the claimant sends information directly to the regulator. However, in practice, it could result in an increase in the number of employers facing the additional burden of dealing with a tribunal claim alongside a regulatory investigation.

Right to request time off for training

From 6 April employers will be legally obliged to consider requests by employees to take time off for training purposes, in a similar way to which they are presently required to deal with requests for flexible working arrangements. Employers will be able to refuse a request where they believe there are good business reasons for doing so. Employers will not be obliged to meet the salary or training costs and the right will only be available to employees in organisations with 250 or more employees. However, from April 2011 the right will be extended to cover all employees.

Fit notes

The Government intends to introduce a “fit note” system, which will require doctors to indicate whether a worker is able to carry out any work at all, rather than to simply sign them off work completely. The content of the fit note is still very much “work in progress”, but the latest version provides four courses of action which the doctor can recommend to the employer:
- phased return to work; amended duties; altered hours; and workplace adaptations. There will be a “comments” box for the doctor to use, where another option is thought more appropriate.

There are many other changes planned next month. We are hosting a series of seminars to help employers understand the changes and to help protect your business. To find out more, visit Employment Law Seminar or further advice and support contact us on 0800 612 4772.


Tags: employment, law

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