Increasing the qualifying period for dismissal and introducing fees for tribunal litigation have caused concern in the employment law community, but are the proposed government reforms all bad? James Davies says the proposals contain some useful ideas, as Jane Wheeler welcomes process improvements, but Edward Cooper warns about possible abuses

The coalition’s proposals for employment reform announced by Vince Cable on 23 November amounted to something of a curate’s egg. The business secretary’s speech heralded the publication, later that day, of BIS’s response to its Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation.

Perhaps the main proposals concern reforming unfair dismissal law. There are two pressures here to which the government is responding. First, a concern that growth is being stifled by the reluctance of some employers to hire – blamed on difficulties in dismissing if the recruitment does not work out. Second, the cost of the tribunal system. Restricting unfair dismissal claims would, of course, help.

A key proposal is to increase the qualifying period from one ...

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