Government Confirms Changes for Bringing Employment Tribunal Claims
In his speech to the Conservative conference, Chancellor George Osborne today confirmed that ordinary claims for unfair dismissal will not be available to employees until they’ve worked for 2 years.
This news has been leaked as well as forecast ever since the coalition announced plans to consult on changes to the rules, but (with the exception of a “drafting error” by BIS recently) this is the first time the government have officially confirmed this policy is to be introduced.
The TUC has responded by observing that 60% of young people won’t be able to make an unfair dismissal claim, along with nearly one third of part-time workers.
While there will no doubt be challenges to these changes – using principles established in a case known as Seymour-Smith – the government will invariably try to rely on the need for growth & confidence in small businesses to employ to justify these changes.
In other changes to employment law, the Chancellor also confirmed that employees will need to pay a fee to bring an employment tribunal claim, and this will only be returned to the claimant if their case is successful. (It hasn’t been confirmed whether this fee would otherwise be awarded to the employer, or kept by the Treasury, let alone what will happen if part of a claim is successful, while other parts fail.)
The new rules will not be introduced until 1 April 2012, so employers considering a dismissal of a worker with more than a year’s service will need to hold back at the moment – or contact Employment Law Clinic: if you have an interest in dismissing someone, there’s probably a fair reason why, and we can assist you in this process.
Update: reports in the media suggest the fees for submitting an employment tribunal claim will be £250, with a fee of £1,000 if a hearing is granted.