A new system of fees for workers taking a claim to an employment tribunal has now been implemented.
Historically, there has been no charge for someone wishing to bring an employment tribunal claim against their employer or former employer.
But from 29 July 2013, a fee will now be payable, which will vary depending on whether the claim is a Type A claim (a straightforward claim, e.g. for unpaid wages or refusal of time off) or Type B (a more complex claim, for example for unfair dismissal or discrimination).
A fee of £160 is payable to issue a Type A claim and this rises to £250 for Type B claims.
If the case progresses to a hearing, a further fee of £230 must be paid for Type A claims and £950 for Type B claims. If a claim contains both a Type A and Type B complaint, one fee will be charged at the Type B rate.
The fees have been introduced with the aim of transferring some of the annual £74.4 million cost of running the employment tribunal system from taxpayers to the people who use the system.
Early conciliation, a new service from employment relationship experts Acas starting next year, will mean that anybody who wants to lodge an employment tribunal claim will have to notify Acas first and will then have an additional month to attempt to resolve the dispute.
The service will be based on a similar voluntary Acas service called Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC). A new evaluation of PCC released by Acas on 17 July showed the service is achieving positive results, including:
- nearly nine out of ten employers who used PCC said that they would use it again
- two thirds of employees would advise a friend or relative to use PCC if they were involved in a similar dispute
- people using the service said PCC was cheaper, easier or more convenient, less traumatic or stressful and resolved their issue more quickly than submitting an employment tribunal claim.
Also coming into force on 29 July were new rules that enable an employer and employee to confidentially discuss terminating their employment relationship, with evidence relating to these discussions inadmissible in any subsequent ordinary unfair dismissal claim.