6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

All change again for Employment Law

PUBLISHED: 15:42 15 July 2013 | UPDATED: 15:42 15 July 2013




Employment law is becoming more complicated. There is no doubt about it, just as you thought you knew where you stood the landscape moves and you are left, blinking and bewildered in the glare of the employment rights headlights. Ironic that it’s all happening in the name of simplification. Where will it all end.

I am often referred to as “wittering on” about how employers are too frightened to move, and how they should grow a backbone and start doing what’s best for their business, in the interests of themselves and their employees. (For the record I have never suggested employers have a lack of backbone). However, things are becoming a little easier for employers, although this may only be a short term thing.

This year we see life getting decidedly tougher for the disgruntled employee. New tribunal claims will require a fee to be paid (unless the employee is short of cash) and employees now need two years’ service before they can claim unfair dismissal (unless there are other factors at play). Settlement agreements are being introduced. While my view is that these are little more than the emperor’s new clothes, an acknowledgement that employers want the ability to have a chat with employees about removing their livelihood without any comebacks.

One change is a tax advantage potentially, masquerading as an employment law change. This is the introduction of the new Employee Shareholder contracts. These can be offered to staff and mean that the staff can be given between £2,000 and £50,000 in shares, without paying capital gains tax on any disposal. In exchange, the employee who takes the shares cannot then claim unfair dismissal in the future. Taken at face value, the employer will simply be swapping potential and possibly non-existent arguments about dismissal in the future, for potential arguments about the value of shares. The latter argument being the more expensive. In fact, now I come to think about it, the number of employers who will want to give away this sort of value to each employee to avoid claims that may never arise is going to be pretty small. However, as a way of getting value out of a company between, say, spouses, this new contract is very useful indeed. There will be certain legal formalities that will need to be observed but on the whole, an attractive proposition in some circumstances.

None of this seems to fit with the drive to introduce employment rights in other areas. For example, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP’s) have always been subject to a presumption that members of the LLP are not employees. That will now change, and the facts of the relationship between the members will determine whether LLP members will be employees. In short, if they don’t run the company, they are likely to be employees.

In line with the law of “action and reaction”, what is happening to balance this reduction in employment rights? Well figures released at the end of May by BIS reveal that the number of people in trade unions has grown in the last 12 months for the first time in 5 years. In fact, in the last 12 months trade union membership in the UK has risen by 59,000 to a total of 6.5 million people. Hardly the population of China, but you wouldn’t want them all in the tea room at the same time. What is more surprising is that 2.5 million of these trade union members are in the private sector.

So it would seem that as employment law becomes more complicated and employees feel less protected by law, then they seek solace in the arms of another and the UK’s employers may need to become reacquainted with the subtleties of an employment relations love triangle.


More from Cotswold Life


“‘Flexitarians’ can do one though, being alleged vegetarians who still can’t resist the sizzling siren song of the bacon sandwich when no-one is looking.” Editor Mike Lowe is attempting to seek reconciliation with those he has annoyed… well, sort of.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:24

Choral carol services and grand instrumental performances, with the backdrop of some of the Cotswolds most picturesque locations, are perfect ways to embrace the festivities. We pick some of the best carol services and concerts to enjoy in the region

Read more
Yesterday, 11:35

“This letting to Oxford nanoSystems is a fantastic example of how we are able to provide first class facilities for growing technology companies at Abingdon Business Park.”

Read more
Yesterday, 11:28

One of the UK’s leading training and education specialists has launched a skills hub in Nuneaton

Read more
Yesterday, 11:19

“The logistics hub is another example of where we have worked in partnership to support skills needs in the area and link our student body with future job opportunities.”

Read more
Yesterday, 11:07

“It was fantastic to see how this project is making a real difference to the lives of young people at risk of social exclusion.”

Read more
Yesterday, 10:57

It has become the 90th store to accept the gift card in Cheltenham

Read more

As well as three days of action-packed racing and tradition, there’s plenty to do away from the course at this year’s November Meeting. Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, shares his 14 suggestions on how to make the most of your time at Cheltenham Racecourse

Read more
Wed, 15:59

From festive light switch-ons and Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas Fayres and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in and around the Cotswolds this season

Read more
Wed, 15:42

Property prices across Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds have risen steadily over the last few years, reflecting the trend across the country. But which area has shown the most dramatic hike in prices recently, and how does your postcode and house type compare with others in the area? You may be surprised to see the results...

Read more
Wed, 11:43

Wine Wednesday’s with Vintopia of Tetbury.

Read more
Wed, 10:37

Festive a la carte menu launches in Grey’s Brasserie from 26th November.

Read more
Wed, 09:31

Cotswold Life readers enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with our compliments when joining us for our Autumn Feast Lunch Offer.

Read more
Tue, 15:01

Harnessing the power of social media, charity awards and dreaming up new projects - it’s all in a day’s work for Gloucestershire children’s charity Pied Piper and its corporate supporters

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search