A Cumbrian employment solicitor will be giving expert evidence to a House of Commons committee later this week.
John Morris, Senior Partner at Burnetts and Head of the Firm’s Employment Law team has been asked to give his views on changes to employment law proposed in the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill.
He will appear before a Public Bill Committee of 25 MPs on Thursday 21st June at 9.30am.
The Bill, introduced by Vince Cable, proposes changes to employment legislation including a compulsory attempt at conciliation through Acas before making an Employment Tribunal claim, caps to compensation awards for unfair dismissal and a new revenue stream for HM Treasury.
John, who is also an Employment Judge, said, “There is not a lot in this Bill for workers to celebrate. I think the most damaging provision is the proposed introduction of a cap for compensation awards. By definition, compensation is intended to compensate an employee for having been unfairly dismissed. The suggested cap of £26,000 or less is not fair on anyone earning more than the average salary.”
The Bill also proposes a financial penalty of up to £5,000 for employers who lose claims brought against them. Previously, penalties imposed in the Employment Tribunal have been paid to the employee, but this Bill suggests that such fines be paid to the Government instead.
John said, “Financial penalties in the Employment Tribunals are not new, but paying the penalty to the government definitely is. I think some may use this to support the argument that the system is weighted against employers and I can also envisage the process being protracted by arguments as to the amount of any penalty.”
John is one of only four solicitors to give oral evidence on the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill at this session. A member of the Law Society’s Employment Law Committee, earlier this year John was invited to join a prestigious Expert User Group to advise the government on employment tribunal procedures.
The committee meeting can be watched live on Parliament TV.