Contrary to what you might have read in the papers (naming no broadsheet names), “compensated no-fault dismissals” have no date for implementation. However, The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has put out a “call for evidence” on that proposal, and, more generally, for views on how the current ACAS Code of Practice operates in practice – and whether it is too onerous. If you go to the trouble of wading through the whole document you will discover that it constantly refers to “perception” and “fear” of employment law regulation, and that in international league tables of such things, the UK shares second place with Canada after the US as the easiest place in the developed world to dismiss employees. You will also discover that health and safety is a bigger issue for most employers than unfair dismissal law.
Leaving aside the question of whether the reforms contemplated are based on rational considerations or not, it is interesting to see that a possible model for a dismissal regime for “micro” businesses is the Australian Small Business Code. This certainly has the merit of brevity, being a mere five pages, including a checklist for employers to complete.
But how would such a code stand alone, without any reference being made to the law of unfair dismissal, and whatever more extensive guidance is provided for other employers? Continue reading