The date we've all been waiting for has been announced! With effect from 25th October 1999, the unfair dismsisal compensatory award will increase from 12,000 to 50,000.
The DTI press release does not make it clear whether this increase will only apply to dismissals where the EDT is on or after 25th October, or whether it will be retrospective so that any claims heard after 25th October will be subject to the new limit. Presumably, for reasons of certainty (and as has occurred in the past with increases to the compensatory award), it will apply only to cases where the EDT is after 25th October (and no doubt it will be made clear in the S.I., which will be printed in the next few days).
In addition, the following sections of the ERA 1999 will come into effect from 25th October:
s2 - tightening up the law protecting employees from discrimination on grouns of trade union membership or activities
s3 - giving the Secretary of State power to make regulations against the blacklisting of people because of T.U. activities - there will be a consultation paper issued with regard to this later this year
s18 - ensuring that employees working under fixed term contracts cannot waive their rights to claim unfair dismissal at the end of the term
ss19-21 - giving the Secretary of State powers to make regulations and issue Codes of Practice to eliminate discrimination against part-time workers and to help the development of flexible working time arrangements and opportunities for part-time work. There will be a consultation paper issued with regard to this shortly.
s22 - removing the requirement for residential members of religious communities to be paid the National Minimum Wage
ss26 and 27 - duties of ACAS are amended slightly
s28 - abolishing the offices of Commissioner for Protection against Unlawful Industrial Action and of Commissioner for the Rights of Trade Union Members
s29 - extending the powers of the Certification Officer
s30 - funding to promote partnership at work
s31 - extending time for prosecuting offences commited after 25th October under the Employment Agencies Act 1973
s32 - removing the territorial limits on employment rights, so that normal principles of international law will apply
s33-37 - simplifying the system of awards and payments made by employment tribunals or in redundancy situations
s39 - allowing tax and NI information gathered by the Inland Revenue to be used for the enforcement of the National Minimum Wage
s40 -amending the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 to reflect the reduction in June of the qualifying period for unfair dismissal rights from 2 years to 1 year