Employment Relations Act 1999

Fairness at Work


Eight commencement orders have been made since the Act received Royal Assent on 27 July 1999 which have brought the majority of the Act's provisions into force.

The Government published a consultation document seeking views on its proposals for reform of the Act. The Government response to this consultation is available.  It also published draft regulations to prohibit blacklisting of trade unionists.


The Act is based on the measures proposed in the White Paper: Fairness at Work (1998). The White Paper was part of the Government’s programme to replace the notion of conflict between employers and employees with the promotion of partnership. The White Paper steers a way between the absence of minimum standards of protection at the workplace, and a return to the laws of the past. It is based on the rights of the individual, whether exercised on their own or with others, as a matter of their choice. It matches rights and responsibilities. It seeks to draw a line under the issue of industrial relations law.

Explanatory Notes to the Act are available from The Stationery Office (telephone 0345 02 34 74 quoting ISBN 0-10-562699-6).

Further details can be found in our short summary of the Act.