March 1 2004. In July 2003 the Government began consulting on draft Regulations to implement the statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures introduced by the Employment Act 2002. Revised draft Regulations have now been issued, which will come into force on October 1st 2004.

The Regulations will require employers to follow set procedures for dealing with disciplinary matters or employee grievances. A failure by the employer to follow the dismissal procedure, other than in specific circumstances, will result in an automatic finding of unfair dismissal if the employee brings a claim (a one-year qualifying period is still required). Failure by an employee or employer to follow either procedure will mean that any compensation awarded will be either increased or decreased by between 10-50%, depending on who is at fault.