The Employment Bill – which the government says will strengthen and clarify key aspects of employment law – has just had its first reading in the Lords.

Among other things, it proposes:

  • the abolition of the statutory dispute resolution procedures and related provisions about procedural unfairness in dismissal cases; gives tribunals discretionary powers to amend awards by up to 25 per cent if an employer unreasonably fails to comply with a relevant statutory code of practice; and increases the powers of Acas to conciliate
  • a stronger enforcement framework for the National Minimum Wage by introducing a new civil penalty that can be levied against all employers who fail to pay up
  • amendments to the right of trade unions to choose their own members, following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in ASLEF v UK (LELR 5).

The government anticipates that the bill will receive royal assent by summer 2008.

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