Major Changes to Employment Law from 29 July 2013
From 29 July 2013, Claimants have to pay an issue fee of either £160 of £250 depending on the nature of their claim. They also have to pay a hearing fee which is either £230 or £950, again depending on the type of claim. Some Claimants may be eligible for full/partial fee exemption if they are in receipt of certain benefits. There may also be some instances when the Respondent (Employer) has to pay a fee e.g. an application to set aside a default judgment; an application to dismiss a matter following settlement etc.
Other changes which have recently been introduced include the capping of the compensatory element of an unfair dismissal award. The compensatory element has regard to the loss suffered by the Claimant as a result of being unfairly dismissed. From 29 July 2013, the compensatory award has been capped at the lesser of 12 months pay or £74,200. This means that if a Claimant earning an annual salary of £20,000 is successful in an unfair dismissal claim, his/her loss of earnings claim will be limited to £20,000 even in circumstances where losses exceed this amount.
New rules introduced by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 allow Employers to engage in settlement agreements. A settlement agreement is an agreement reached between an Employer and an Employee following pre-termination negotiations. Such discussions can take place where there is no formal dispute between the parties and on a without prejudice basis. However, there are instances where confidentiality protection is lost and may later be relied upon by an Employee at the Employment Tribunal as examples of an Employer’s ‘improper behaviour’. Employers need to be aware of these issues before entering into pre-termination negotiations with Employees.
For advice in relation to Employment Law please contact Kate Garrett or see our full list of services on our Employment Law page.