By Daniel Hunter

A Call for Evidence to look at the current whistleblowing laws, and specifically whether there is enough support for people to report wrongdoing, has been launched by Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson today (Friday).

The announcement is part of a wider of package of measures being outlined by the government today as part of the Parliament-long review of Employment Law and through the Employment-Related Law Red Tape Challenge. The measures include changes that streamline the employment tribunal system and also help employers make the offer of settlements or use early conciliation to resolve workplace disputes.

“We believe the current whistleblowing system works well. However, we cannot be complacent and recent events have put the spotlight on these protections," Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said.

"We have already introduced significant changes which have strengthened the protections, but in order to better support those who take the often difficult decision to report wrongdoing at work, we are launching a call for evidence to help us see if further changes are required in light of this.

“Our main aim is to strike the right balance and increase the flexibility and efficiency of the labour market whilst making sure that we maintain essential protections. Getting this right will help make a valuable contribution to the UK’s long term, sustainable economic growth.

“We are also helping businesses tackle workplace problems and offer staff continued employment protection. There are a number of ways to solve disputes that don’t have to involve time-consuming, stressful and costly tribunal hearings. Settlement agreements are one option which can be helpful and provide positive outcomes for all involved.

“Early conciliation can also play a key role in helping to settle disputes and we want to see more employers use this method. Our response sets out how we are going to implement the requirement for all potential claimants to contact Acas before going to tribunal.”

The measures being outlined today are:

- Changes that will make employment tribunals easier to understand, more efficient and make sure that weak cases which should not proceed are identified earlier and dealt with more effectively.

- Changes to legislation, and supporting guidance and tools, which make settlement agreements easier to use as a means of resolving workplace dispute, including where an employment relationship isn’t working out.

- In response to the consultation on reforms to the rules governing the recruitment sector legislation, the government intends to remove some of the regulatory burden on business and focus regulation where workers are most at risk of exploitation. We also intend to focus government enforcement on helping the most vulnerable workers.

- The government’s response to the consultation on Early Conciliation, which sets out the government’s commitment to make early conciliation a key component of the workplace resolution process.

- The Unfair Dimissal award cap of 12 months’ pay to come into force later this month subject to completing parliamentary scrutiny.

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