Citizens Advice response to Second Reading of Enterprise Bill
11 June 2012
Responding to today’s Second Reading of the Enterprise Bill in the House of Commons, Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
“We warmly welcome and support some of the changes in this bill that will make it harder for rogue employers to get away with treating people unfairly at work. Most employers behave responsibly, but we still see far too many cases where people are unfairly dismissed or denied their basic workplace rights.
“We’re very pleased that the government has taken up our suggestion to deal with straightforward cases - such as non-payment of holiday pay - more quickly and simply, without the need for an employment tribunal hearing.
“It’s important that rogue employers don’t profit at the expense of decent bosses, so we very much welcome financial penalties for employers in cases where there are ‘aggravating features’, such as those involving rogue employers who don’t engage with the Employment Tribunal process.
“It’s also good news that Acas will get the chance to resolve disputes before they get to an employment tribunal. But it’s vital that Acas has the resources it needs to ensure this new gateway to tribunals does not become a logjam.
“There is one important element missing from a Bill that aims to improve the Employment Tribunal system – namely measures to ensure more effective enforcement of unpaid Employment Tribunal awards and Acas settlements. This Bill provides an opportunity to finally close a loophole that allows some rogue employers to profit from exploitation with impunity. This is grossly unfair not only to those workers who do not receive the compensation due to them, and to the taxpayers whose taxes have paid for employment judges to determine the claim to no end, but also to the vast majority of law-abiding employers.”
Last year Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales helped with 523,500 employment problems.
Notes to editors
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more information in England and Wales see www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality. For online advice and information see www.adviceguide.org.uk
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.9 million problems from April 2011 to March 2012. For full 2011/2012 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Out of 22 national charities, the Citizens Advice service is ranked by the general public as being the most helpful, approachable, professional, informative, effective / cost effective, reputable and accountable (nfpSynergy’s Brand Attributes survey, May 2010).
- Most Citizens Advice service staff are trained volunteers, working at around 3,500 service outlets across England and Wales.