Avoiding and resolving workplace problems

The legislation governing how businesses deal with disputes with their employees is changing from April 2009. The new simpler and more flexible system is intended to save businesses time and money.

Acas, the employment relations service, have now issued a new Code of Practice following parliamentary approval and accompanying guidance which will lays out the principles and provides practical guidance on procedures for handling disciplinary and grievance matters in the workplace.

The Employment Act 2008:

  • repeals the mandatory three-step process for discipline/grievance issues; and
  • allows employment tribunals to adjust awards by up to 25% if an employee or employer has acted unreasonably in not following the principles in the new Acas Code.

The Government is providing additional help for all employers to get the maximum benefit out of this new system by working with Acas.

From April 2009, help on the new rules will be available from the Acas helpline on 08457 47 47 47. Trained Acas conciliators will also be available throughout the country to help resolve workplace problems.

Acas are also running a variety of courses aimed at helping businesses during a recession, such as redundancy and restructuring, managing people in difficult times, understanding and managing redundancy, varying a contract of employment, and employment law update.

Internet links: HMRC employer bulletin  Acas article

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