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Employment law changes

Motor trade bosses will have to take a softer approach to their employees from April next year, when new workplace legislation is likely to be introduced.

The proposed Employment Act will introduce a code of practice which encourages simple procedures for early resolution of workplace disagreements.It places stronger emphasis on dialogue and common sense in dealing with workplace disputes.

The proposed legislation is in response to the Gibbons Report on Workplace Dispute Resolution in the UK, which concluded that 2004 Dispute Resolution Regulations had failed.

While formal procedures such as written warnings and official meetings will continue, employers will have to take a more personal and softer approach when dealing with workers.

In particular, there will be a greater need for mediation, especially informal mediation carried out internally by human resources staff.

Melvin Rogers, Sytner Group head of HR, said the company already had provisions in place for the new law, which will includes an anonymous hotline for employees to air any unresolved problems and field-based HR managers who visit dealerships to deal with problems informally.

He said the legislation would certainly assist some motor industry businesses.

“It’s a better approach because issues can be resolved at an earlier stage. If problems are left, they can fester when the chances are that it could have been sorted out amicably.”

He added: “Mediation is a much stronger way of dealing with things.”

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