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Employment Law Reform: Two Important Government Consultations Employers Should Know About

Acas consults on draft Code of Practice on settlement agreements

On 12 February 2013, Acas launched a public consultation on a draft statutory code of practice to accompany a clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13 that will make pre-termination negotiations inadmissible in unfair dismissal cases, unless there has been "improper behaviour" by one of the parties in relation to the negotiations. The measure is intended to promote the use of voluntary terminations by way of compromise agreements (to be renamed "settlement agreements" in the Bill).

The draft code contains a brief explanation of the forthcoming new law, some basic guidance on how to offer a voluntary settlement (including template letters) and guidance on what would amount to improper behaviour. As well as consulting generally on the contents of the code, Acas also has some specific questions on which it is seeking views. The consultation closes on 9 April.

DWP to consult on simplifying pension auto-enrolment regime

The DWP has announced plans to consult "next month" on several changes to the auto-enrolment regime. The consultation comes a good deal earlier than recent comments by pensions minister Steve Webb seemed to indicate. According to a DWP press release, the changes are intended to simplify technical aspects of the legislation, reflecting the lessons learned so far from how the regime has operated in practice.

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