Employment tribunal fees - the changes
We give you the lowdown on what the employment tribunal fee changes mean and how small businesses can better protect themselves.
Employment tribunal fees have been in the news recently and there have been some big changes businesses need to be aware of. We give you the lowdown on what has changed, what the changes mean and how businesses can better protect themselves.
What has changed
In July 2013, employment tribunal fees were introduced in England, Wales, and Scotland. Effectively, the claimant had to pay a fee to make a claim and if they won their claim, the employer had to reimburse the claimant along with paying the award etc.
Fees were set at two levels: £390 in total for a Type A claim (unpaid wages etc); and £1,200 in total for a Type B claim (unfair dismissal, discrimination etc). The fee was paid in two installments: the first when the claim was made and the second shortly before the hearing.
On 26th July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal fees were unlawful. There were a few reasons for this but the main ones were:
- The high level of the fee prevents people from getting the justice they deserve after being treated unlawfully by their employer;
- Fees discriminate against groups with a protected characteristic e.g. women, because generally, women earn less than men and so would be less likely to be able to afford the fee.
What the changes mean
When fees were introduced, there was a significant drop in the number of employment tribunal claims because people simply could not afford to make a claim.
Because of the ruling, this ‘safety net’ is no longer there and anyone who feels they have been treated badly by their employer but would not have been able to afford the fee will now be able to make a claim for free.
What you need to do to protect your business
It is very likely that the number of claims will increase because of this ruling and it is important for employers to protect their businesses from any potential future tribunals. One of the ways of doing this is by keeping up-to-date records and recording evidence of any actions taken. With that in mind, we explore this and the other ways to protect your business, in our blog here
Employment law advice from BrightHR
Are you worried by the employment tribunal ruling and the potential implications for your business? With Bright Advice, our employment law experts are just a phone call away, offering employment law advice and peace of mind to help you make the right decisions so your business is protected.