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Plans for greater business flexibility and quicker resolution for workplace disputes have been announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable.
In his opening speech at the second reading of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the Business Secretary set out the Government’s plans to introduce a measure to boost business confidence and ease the handling of workplace disputes through facilitating the use of settlement agreements between employers and employees.
Under these measures, employers will be able to offer settlement agreements before a formal dispute arises and will be legally protected from this offer being used as evidence in an unfair dismissal tribunal case. Employees will also continue to enjoy full protection of their employment rights, as they can choose to reject the offer of a settlement agreement and proceed to a tribunal. Evidence from the private sector shows that a sensible compromise can be reached in the majority of cases.
The Government wants to encourage greater use of settlement agreements and make it easier and quicker for employers - including SMEs - and employees to end the employment relationship by mutual agreement in a way that protects workers rights but helps businesses remain flexible.