• The Government has confirmed it will cap public sector exit payments and introduce a new offence of intimidation on the picket.

    Last week, the Government published its response to consultations on exit payments and picketing.

    The Government has confirmed it intends to go ahead with its plans to cap public sector exit payments amongst most public bodies in Great Britain. Initially, the cap will be set at £95,000 and will apply to most exit payments, including those for voluntary or compulsory redundancy, payments in lieu of notice and “special severance” payments, including those agreed in settlement of threatened claims. There will be a waiver system introduced to allow higher payments in “exceptional” circumstances, and the cap will not apply to payments made in respect of an employee’s death, serious injury caused by their employment, ill-health retirement or payments made for unfair dismissal or breach of contract following litigation.

    In relation to the intimidation of non-striking workers, the Government has confirmed that plans to introduce a new criminal offence of intimidation on the picket and to require unions to report annually on their industrial action and picketing activities will not be taken forward. Proposals to require unions to publish their plans for industrial action, pickets or social media campaigns in advance have also been dropped.

    The Government intends to take two matters forward: its proposals to introduce a legal requirement for unions to appoint a picket supervisor, with responsibility for the conduct of the picket, and to update the Code of Practice on picketing to clarify the legal protections already available for those affected by industrial disputes.

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