Employment tribunal claims – big changes confirmed

The government has just confirmed details of two significant changes to the employment tribunals system – which is clearly aimed at reducing the number of employment tribunal claims being made.

The first change, as expected, is that with effect from April 1 next year, the qualification period for making an unfair dismissal claim will increase from one year to two.

The second announcement confirms the introduction of application fees for all employment tribunal compensation claims, which are likely to be as follows;

  • £250 form ET1 is initially launched
  • an additional fee of £1000 on listing of the final hearing
  • increased application fees if more than £30,000 compensation is being claimed
  • a refund of all application fees should the claim be successful
  • some form of fee waiver for those on benefits for low-income – though the details of this have not yet been confirmed

This could have a significant effect on the number of claims being made annually – in particular it will remain to be seen whether some employees are quite so keen to take their employment dispute to a tribunal given the size of the application fee – and what will happen to those employment tribunal solicitors running from claims under no win no fee schemes – will they be prepared to fund his sizeable application fees themselves ? Only time will tell.