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Employment law changes that come into force on 29th July 2013

 

Posted on 29 July 2013

Fees payable at the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal  - when lodging claims at the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal, fees will become payable by claimants .

The fees are £160 for level 1 claims (with a hearing fee of £230). Level one claims include claims for unpaid wages, holiday pay and redundancy payments.

 For level 2 claims there is an issue fee of £250 with a hearing fee of £950. Examples of level 2 claims include discrimination, unfair dismissal and equal pay.

 For appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, there is an issue fee of £400, and a hearing fee of £1,200.

Some fees may be payable by a Respondent, although it is expected that the majority of fees will be paid by the claimant, subject to the claimant’s financial circumstances during the proceedings.

A reduced cap for unfair dismissal compensation – previously, a claimant was allowed to seek losses up to the statutory cap in force at the time.  From 29 July, a claimant will be able to claim losses up to a maximum of 12 month’s salary or the statutory cap, whichever is lower. The statutory cap is currently £74,200. 

Compromise agreements become settlement agreements – at present employers and employees can bring an employment relationship to an end through a compromise agreement. These are legally binding agreements that can be used to resolve employment claims that an employee could bring to a court or tribunal, usually in return for a severance payment to the individual by the employer.  Also introduced will be new rules in relation to pre-termination negotiations.

Pre-termination discussions will be inadmissible as evidence in unfair dismissal claims – the current ‘Without Prejudice’ rule, allows the employer and employee to have protected discussions regarding settlement where the parties are in dispute.  It is hoped that this new measure will give employers more freedom to agree voluntary terminations. Exceptions to this principle,  include cases involving discrimination issues or cases of ‘automatic’ unfair dismissal. Therefore, employers should seek advice before speaking to an employee regarding termination under these new arrangements.
 

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