Our last round-up of the key employment news in brief for 2016 covers: an update on industrial action reform; further ET reform; an interesting new report on working in local government; the latest Brexit news and details of next year's statutory payment increases.
Industrial action reform - update
As we reported in the May 2016 edition of Employment Eye, the Trade Union Act 2016 received Royal Assent earlier this year, and will introduce various reforms to the requirements for lawful industrial action. One of the reforms under the Trade Union Act 2016 is that for certain "important public services", balloting requirements will be tighter than for other organisations.
Draft regulations have now been published defining "important public services" for the five categories of service affected:
For these services, an additional threshold of 40% of support for industrial action from all eligible members will be required (in addition to the requirement that at least 50% of eligible members must have voted). Please click on the relevant regulations for the full list of types of services within each category - but, in summary, key areas covered include
In other industrial action news, a revised Code of Practice on Picketing has been published. The revisions relate to the requirement that will be introduced by section 10 of the Trade Union Act 2016 for unions to appoint a picket supervisor. The new Code will come into force on a date to be advised.
Further employment tribunal reform in the pipeline
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Ministry of Justice have launched a joint consultation, Reforming the Employment Tribunal System, setting out proposals for reform of the employment tribunals and EAT.
The deadline for responses is 20 January 2017.
Proposed changes, which are intended to simplify the process and speed up resolution of disputes, include:
The consultation also notes that the long-awaited and long overdue review of the introduction of fees is to be published in due course and that any adjustments to the current fee structure will be the subject of consultation.
Local government – why does your workforce work for you?
An interesting new report from the New Local Government Network (NLGN) takes a look at what motivates people working in local government and considers their future employment. The full report can be downloaded here, but key findings are that 'public service' is one of the main motivators for employees in local government, although that factor is rated less highly by those employed in front line roles. Work-life balance was the next biggest reason for working in local government. The report makes a number of recommendations for the future of the local government workforce, including
- less hierarchical management structures
- more engagement with the public; and
- more involvement with external groups, such as the Local Government Association.
- bringing control of our legal system back to the UK Parliament
- bringing back control over immigration
- maintaining security co-operation with the EU
- establishing the freest possible market in goods and services with the EU and the rest of the world.
Payment increases for next year announced
You may wish to make a diary note of the dates for next year's annual statutory payment increases - the Department for Work and Pensions has announced in a policy paper that the following increased weekly rates for statutory payments will apply from April 2017.
Annual increases in statutory payments normally apply from the first Sunday in April; but the written statement announcing these changes suggests that the increases will take effect from the end of the first full week at the start of the tax year, i.e. 10 April 2017.