Monday, 19 December 2011

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HR News - Apprenticeships promoted

Business secretary Vince Cable has announced that incentives will be granted to employers hiring young apprentices. Businesses employing less than 50 people will be able to bid directly for cash from a £250 million vocational training fund. 
An incentive payment of up to £1,500 will be available for small companies who take on apprentices aged between 16 and 24. Government assumes it will create up to 20,000 apprenticeship places in 2012/2013.

Government plans to consult on “protected conversations”
The government is planning to consult on introducing "protected conversations" between employers and their staff that would be inadmissible in employment tribunal proceedings. 
Currently, discussions about poor performance or retirement issues can be held against employers if a dispute ends up in tribunal. Such discussions are often legal grey areas and can lead to discrimination claims, which cause employers to fear having frank discussions with their staff. 
The purpose of the proposal is to allow employers to openly discuss difficult situations with employees without fear of facing an employment tribunal later. This would enable to tackle disciplinary or grievance issues at an early stage and reduce tribunal claims.
In that respect this measure corroborates the government’s decision to extend the minimum period of employment to claim unfair dismissal (cfr Newsletter October 2011).
Both parties would have to agree to have a conversation “without prejudice”- that is without fear that anything said will be used as a reason for a legal case.
The proposal is part of a growth package for small businesses aiming at boosting job creation, as David Cameron explained:
“We want businesses to create jobs. But if employers are so concerned about the prospect of being taken to tribunal that they don’t feel they can have frank conversations with their employee, many companies just won’t feel able to create those jobs in the first place.”
However, detractors argue this measure could encourage employers to abuse the system and have inappropriate discussions or make discriminatory comments to their employees.

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