Warning on new employment law

Human resources consultant Tina Clayton, of Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants.
Human resources consultant Tina Clayton, of Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants.
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EMPLOYMENT experts are warning Fylde coast business owners not to fall foul of new employment laws which come into force tomorrow.

Chris Boyle, head of the employment team at Whitehills-based Napthens solicitors, said that from April 6, employees will need to have worked for an employer for two years or more before they can claim unfair dismissal.

And Tina Clayton (right), HR consultant at Blackpool Business Park-based Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, agreed.

The Government has introduced the change to aid the growth of business by encouraging recruitment, along with other measures to encourage early resolution of workplace disputes, speed up the tribunal process and tackle weak or vexatious claims.

It’s hoped the move will cut the number of claims by 3,000 each year. But Mr Boyle warned that this is not a carte blanche for bosses simply to fire employees at will.

He said businesses cutting corners or becoming lax during the dismissal process with employees with less than two years’ service, could open themselves up to other types of claims such as discrimination or automatic unfair dismissal claims after all.

He added: “The change in the law has been made partly to reduce the number of claims currently being made to Employment Tribunals which are a genuine financial burden to the taxpayer and business community.

“However, it is not a charter for businesses to begin firing staff members for the wrong reasons. The law offers a great deal of protection to employees, regardless of length of service, and it is important that fairness and best practice is adopted.

“Any business unsure should consult its legal team.”

Tina Clayton, HR consultant at Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, believes many businesses could misinterpret the law change.

Ms Clayton said businesses need to be aware that employment areas such as those involving discrimination or statutory rights, remain unchanged.

She added: “There are many areas covered by unfair dismissal rules that require no qualifying service for a claim, most notably for discrimination and where statutory rights are breached, such as the right to maternity and paternity leave.