Much has been heard about the Government’s consultation and its proposals to extend the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal to 2 years but not much about the introduction of a fee structure in the Employment Tribunals.
Currently to bring a claim before an Employment Tribunal or the Employment Appeals Tribunal it is free. Unlike with the Civil Courtsystem the full cost of running a Tribunal claim is met by the Tax payer in one shape or another. Whilst the Government’s consultation seeks views on the two separate fee charging schemes it has proposed, it nevertheless makes it clear that the principle of charging fees in the Tribunals is not being consulted on and is a given.
What is therefore on the table for possible change?
The first proposal is to charge one main fee to be paid by the Claimant when proceedings are issued ( and issue fee) and figures currently suggest this will range between £200.00 and £1,750.00 for a single claim. Following the issue fee there would be six further fees for certain applications made after the claim had been accepted. The level of these fees will depend upon the value of the claim, its nature and the number of people involved. The more that is claimed, the higher the fee that will be paid.
The alternative proposal is that the level of fees will depend upon the nature of the claim made and the staged reached in the proceedings. There would be two fees payable, the first one would be when the claim is made (the issue fee) and the other one would be for claims proceeding to a hearing (the hearing fee). The suggested fees range from £150.00 to £250.00 for the issue fee and £250.00 to £1,250.00 for a hearing fee. These fees would be payable by the Claimant. As with the first proposal, there would be six further fees for certain specified applications once a claim has been accepted.
The suggestion is that these fees would be recovered from the unsuccessful party along the lines of loser pays.
Consultation in respect to these proposals closes on the 6th March 2012.
INCREASES IN STAUTORY MATERNITY PAY AND STATUTORY SICK PAY
The Government has announced the proposed new rates for statutory sick pay and statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay for 2012.
It is proposed that the changes will come into effect on the 9th April 2012.
For statutory maternity, paternity, additional paternity, adoption and maternity allowance the rates will increase from £128.73 to £135.45.
For statutory sick pay the rate will increase from £81.60 to £85.85.
INCREASE IN EMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION LIMITS
February this year sees the implementation of an increase in limits in respect to Employment Tribunal awards and other payments. As from the 1st February 2012 the following changes come about:-
The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal increases from £68,400.00 to £72,300.00.
The limit on the weeks pay for the purpose of calculating statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal increases from £400.00 to £430.00.
The minimum basic award in cases where dismissal was unfair, health and safety, employee representative, trade union or occupational pension trustee reasons increases from £5,000.00 to £5,300.00.
These new rates will apply for events occurring on or after the 1st February 2012 so in the case of unfair dismissal the effective dismissal date has to fall on or after this date. Where this falls before the 1st February 2012 the old limits will still apply.
For any information on the above or for all employment matters contact Peter.Lamble@coodes.co.uk