01 April 2009

Employment news - spring: News in brief

Tribunal statistics

The number of tribunal claims increased dramatically in the period 2007/8. According to figures published in March, 189,303 claims were accepted in 2007/08 – 43 per cent more than the 2006/07 figure and 65 per cent more than the figure for 2005/06. The largest number of claims were for equal pay (62,706) followed by working time (55,712) and unfair dismissal (40,941). The figures also show a sharp increase in age discrimination claims from 972 in 2006/07 to 2,949 in 2007/08.

Working time: what is happening with the opt out?

The argument over whether the UK should be able to continue its practice of enabling employees to opt out of the 48 hour weekly working time limit is continuing to rumble on, with the European Parliament and the European Commission at odds over the issue. The matter is currently in the hands of the European Council, which has until May to make its decision. If it wishes to support the Parliament’s decision to end the opt-out, it must do so unanimously. If it does not side with the Parliament, a six-week period of conciliation will follow during which the various institutions will attempt to achieve a compromise. If that process is unsuccessful, proposed amendments to the Directive will not proceed and the status quo, including the opt-out, will continue.

Equality Bill expected in April

The Government has confirmed that the Equality Bill will be presented to Parliament in April 2009 as planned. Details of the Bill will be reported in the next issue of Employment News.

Category: Article