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  Solicitors Bude Cornwall   Changes to Employment Law this April 2009 - 25 Mar 2009 Holsworthy Solicitors


The Employment Act 2008 and a Flexible Working Statutory Instrument introduced a number of changes to employment law affecting both employers and employees.
  In this article we will focus on two of the changes coming into force on the 6th of April 2009 - the statutory disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures (introduced in 2004) will be abolished; and the right to ask for flexible working is to be extended to parents with a child aged 16 years or under. So what do these changes mean for you?

Disciplinary, Dismissal and Grievance Well if you are an employer a similar pre-2004 approach will be adopted for the disciplinary, dismissal and grievance procedures. Procedural breaches by employers will no longer be deemed Automatically Unfair. A new ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) code has been issued which is clear and reasonably concise and is available from their website (www.acas.org.uk/dgcode2009).

In summary an employer must:

  • Act promptly & consistently,
  • Perform the necessary investigations,
  • Inform employees of the problem & allow them to put forward their case,
  • Allow another person to accompany the employee in meetings,
  • Ensure your procedures are fair & reasonable,
  • Keep written records of any meetings to discuss disciplinary matters or grievances.


  • It is always recommended that you read and understand the ACAS guide before dealing with disciplinary matters, dismissal and grievance. Remember that there is a transitional period from the old rules to the new rules, when dealing with a disciplinary matter or grievance so be sure to check to see which side of the fence it falls.

    Flexible Working

    Flexible working includes home-working, flexi-time and part-time working. The statutory right to request has been extended to include employees who are parents with a child aged 16 years or under. An employer that has a request for flexible working from an employee with the statutory right must consider the request. The employee must provide certain information, it is always good to ask them to complete a FW(A) form available from BERR (www.berr.gov.uk) to ensure you have all the relevant information.

    Each request must be acknowledged, considered on the basis of whether your business can accommodate the request (you should hold a meeting with the employee to discuss this) and if it cannot be accommodated you should explore alternatives with the employee.

    From an employees’ perspective if you have a statutory right and request flexible working from your employer you have a right to request it and the employer has the duty to reasonably consider the request but it is not a right to flexible working itself.

    If you agree a change to your working arrangements this is an amendment to your contract of employment and will usually not give you the right to revert to your previous working arrangements, always consider this and if you foresee the need to revert to your current arrangement agree a fixed temporary period at the outset. Obviously a trial basis can be a good option for the employer and employee alike to test the water.

    Obviously this is merely an overview of some of the changes; detailed information is available on www.acas.org.uk and www.businesslink.gov.uk

    Alternatively if you are an employee or employer and require professional legal advice on employment matters or any other area of law contact us on 01288 356 256.

    Paul Finn
    Director, Paul Finn Solicitors
    Tel: 01288 356 256
    Email: FinnP@FinnLaw.co.uk
 
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