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Osborne announces shake-up of employment law

George Osborne has announced a shake-up of employment legislation with the intention being of saving British industry money and reducing the numbers of employment tribunal claims. The first of the major reformsis the proposed increase inthe qualifying period to claim unfair dismissl from one year to two years. This is likely to take effect in April 2012. This will give employers more flexibility to carry out risk-free dismissals in the first two years of employment. Employees on the other hand will have to look at ways of getting around the requirementby relying on discrimination as the basis for their claims. This is not the first time the qualifying period has been at the two year mark. It was last reduced from twoyears toone in 1999 having been at the two year limitfrom 1985. The second groundbreaking proposal announced in George Osborne’s speech yesterdayis the moveto charge fees in the employment tribunal as a condition of bringing a claim. The proposed structure is as follows:

  • A fee of £250 on lodging an ET1
  • A further fee of £1,000 once the claim is listed for a hearing
  • Higher fees if the claim is worth over £30,000
  • The fees are to be returned to the claimant in the event of success or forfeitedin the event thata claim is unsuccessful
  • Fees are to be waived if the claimant has no money.

It is proposed that feeswill bepayable from April 2013. It is not clear what the meanstest for a fee waiver is. If it is income support then many low paid ex-employees will qualify. Interestingly, the fees are in excess of the small claims fee limitand may be prohibitivein low value claims Read more