Employment Tribunals – Changes on the horizon
The Chancellor has announced plans to increase the qualifying period of continuous service for unfair dismissal claims from 1 year to 2 years. It is anticipated that this change will take place from April 2012.
The Chancellor is also proposing to introduce fees for bringing claims at an Employment Tribunal from April 2013.
Currently there is no charge to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal and there are also no costs consequences, under normal circumstances, for a claimant even if they are unsuccessful.
It is not yet known what level of fees the Government may set for bringing claims under the new proposals or whether employees will be able to recover the cost of those fees from their employer if they are successful in their claims. It may be that a fee structure is introduced depending on the level of award being claimed. Clearly these proposals will be subjected to much discussion and consultation before a final decision is reached.
The Government have stated that the reason for these proposals is to encourage businesses to recruit staff more frequently and without fear of vexatious claims being brought against them. Many business related bodies have spoken out in favour of the proposals believing that they will bolster recruitment and save businesses money. On the other hand many unions strongly object to the changes and believe that they will result in employers being more unscrupulous towards employees, will lead to uncertainty over jobs and will discourage employees from claiming due to financial reasons.
At the moment the future in this area is unknown. All we can say is Employment law is ever changing and whatever decision the Government makes either employers or employees are going to be unhappy.
Should you have any enquiry relating to employment law please feel free to contact the specialist employment law department of QualitySolicitors Bradbury Roberts & Raby on 01724 854000