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Mincoffs Solicitors LLP
5 Osborne Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0191 281 6151
Fax: 0191 281 8069
DX Address: 62550 JESMOND
Employment Law Reform - April 2012
It has been clear for some time that reform to existing employment law has been a high priority issue for the coalition government and these specific reforms certainly reflect that desire by the government. It also appears that there will be further reform to employment law over the coming years.
- In April 2012 the qualifying period of employment service needed to bring an ordinary unfair dismissal claim will increase from one year to two years. This will apply from 6 April 2012. Please note the changes will not affect those employees whose period of continuous service began before 6 April 2012 and therefore this new Rule will not apply to existing employees who already have one year’s service and will still be able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal on this basis.
- Witness statements will stand as evidence and this will mean that these statements will be not read out at the Hearing unless the Employment Tribunal Judge orders otherwise.
- Further powers for the Tribunal to order a party to pay witness expenses.
- Employment Judges to sit alone in unfair dismissal claims.
- Increasing the upper limit on deposit orders to £1,000.
- Increasing the ability to make costs orders in the Tribunal to £20,000.
- There have also been recent changes to the rates of Tribunal awards and these include:
- Limit on a week’s pay for the purposes of calculating statutory redundancy pay and basic award is now £430.
- The maximum basic award for an unfair dismissal claim is £12,900.
- The maximum award for an ordinary unfair dismissal compensatory award is £72,300.
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL FEES
The Government has begun consultation on the introduction of fees in both the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The consultation seeks views on two options for the charging of fees in the Employment Tribunals.
- The first option proposes that the Claimant pays a fee of £150 to £250 to lodge a claim. This depends on the nature of the claim and then a subsequent fee of £250 to £1,250 to proceed to hearing – this may be introduced in 2013.
- The second option proposes that the Claimant pays a fee to lodge a claim the amount of which will depend on the value of the claim. For instance an individual seeking an award below £30,000 will pay £200 to £600 depending on the nature of the claim and those seeking £30,000 or more would pay a fee of £1,750. This may be introduced in 2014.
- It is also proposed that the HM Courts and Tribunals Fee Remission Scheme will be available for those who cannot afford the fees.
- In addition, it is proposed that the Tribunals would also have the power to order that the unsuccessful party reimburses the successful party so that the cost is ultimately borne by the party who caused the Tribunal system to be used in the first place.
Mincoffs Solicitors LLP