In our review of the year, we’ve put together our predictions for 2013, as well as our necessarily subjective selection of what has been most significant in 2012 on the employment front. Life being what it is, it is already looking a bit dated thanks to a fresh wave of Government announcements 10 days ago (see our posting here for a quick overview of some of them).
Most of the measures in the pipeline reflect yet another attempt by the Government to tackle the perceived threat of a growing litigation culture. So in the course of 2013 we expect to see the introduction of fees in the employment tribunal, new tribunal rules, and compulsory pre-issue conciliation, all with the aim of cutting down disputes. Also in the same vein are measures to increase the use of compromise agreements (to be re-named settlement agreements), bolstering the confidentiality of pre-dismissal negotiations and introducing an earnings-related cap on unfair dismissal compensation.
Standing out from the main group of measures addressing dispute resolution, is an ambitious but controversial plan to create a completely new type of employment status: the employee-owner. This has been billed as of potential benefit to high-tech and start-up businesses. Critics of the plan have pointed out that the cost of setting up such complex arrangements, and the risk of disputes about share valuation and exit arrangements, may well outweigh the benefit to employers of being able to contract out of unfair dismissal and redundancy protection.