Telegraph jumps the gun on no-fault dismissals

Today’s employment law issue is  actually a quite straightforward mistake made in this column about red tape and recruitment. The Daily Telegraph is essentially writing about the administrative difficulties around the funding of apprenticeships. This is a subject about which I know nothing whatever so I’m assuming that everything the Telegraph has to say on the point is absolutely right.

We then get to this paragraph talking about the employment law changes due in April this year:

Among the changes, the qualifying period for workers claiming “unfair dismissal” will be extended from one to two years, while the smallest firms will be able to lawfully dismiss staff with a pay-off in return for them never bringing a tribunal claim.

The first part of the paragraph is of course quite right (its ’employees’ rather than ‘workers’, but not even I am picky enough to care about that). But what is that second bit? There is of course no law coming in that will exempt micro businesses from the normal unfair dismissal rules. The Government has issued a call for evidence on the issue, but we are still miles away from a law even being drafted, much less coming into force in a couple of weeks. It is, of course, a change that the Telegraph is very much in favour of. Perhaps they think that if they persuade everyone that it is already in force, we can save all that tedious mucking about in Parliament.

Now I have to admit that in pointing out this error, I do feel as though I’m being slightly petty. After all, it’s only one sentence in an article about something else altogether. All the same, it irks me that someone gets to write something in a national newspaper that is so obviously factually incorrect. The smallest effort at checking the status of the proposal would have prevented the error. That the error went through seems to display a depressingly cavalier attitude towards getting the facts on employment law right. Since the Telegraph expresses so many opinions about the state of employment law, you would hope that they would show a bit more interest in getting their facts straight.

Oh and many thanks to @HRbullets for pointing the article out to me. If you see any employment law story in the news that irritates you, please let me know!


About Darren Newman

Employment law consultant, trainer, writer and anorak
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