Employment Tribunal Fees

The results have been published by the Ministry of Justice in regard to its consultation of employment tribunal fees.

The intention is to implement the changes in summer 2013. The purpose of introducing fees is to lower the cost of the employment tribunal system to the taxpayer.

The key points are:-

 

  • Level 1 claims (straightforward ones such as unlawful deductions from wages/salary) – £160 issue fee; £230 hearing fee
  • Level 2 claims (encompasses pretty much everything else) – £250 issue fee; £950 hearing fee
  • Employment Appeal Tribunal – £400 appeal fee, £1,200 hearing fee

There are various other fees also.

The Government will be reviewing the fee structure in regard to the actual cost of running the employment tribunal system once it is implemented. These costs are separate from the above fees.

Compromise Agreements

There are plans to move from ‘compromise’ to ‘settlement’ agreements with the intention of helping employers.

Compromise agreements are when an employer and an employee enter into negotiations with a view to reaching a mutually agreeable compromise and settlement, giving rise to benefits for both parties. The employee is offered a payment, which would usually include an element of compensation leaving the employer in the safe knowledge the employee agrees not to pursue any claims (excluding those relating to breaches of the agreement, personal injury and accrued pension rights).

However, at this stage, the proposed legislation seems to have been a re-branding exercise although formal consultation is scheduled to take place over the summer. We will have to wait and see if this brings about any significant changes and I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, compromise agreements are still safe to use and can continue to be offered where there’s a workplace dispute.

Pensions Auto-Enrolment

From October 2012, new legislation will require employers to automatically enrol their staff into a workplace pension. Millions of people are not saving enough to have the income they are likely to want in retirement. Life expectancy in the UK is increasing and, at the same time, people are saving less into pensions.

Too many people still think that they can reply on their state pension to provide for them in retirement, but with the rate standing at only £107 per week (from April 2012), it is simply not enough to prevent millions of future pensioners ending up poverty stricken.

This is being phased in and employers are being given “staging” dates when they have to begin auto-enrolling eligible employees, who are not already members, into a qualifying workplace pension. The date is based on their size (fixed by the number of HMRC employee records on file at a 1 April 2012) or the letters in their PAYE scheme reference.

The staging and phasing begins, on 1 October 2012, with employees in excess of 120,000 – this only applying to 4 employers being the large supermarkets.

It will not hit employers with 349 or less employees until after 1 January 2013. Watch this space for a timetable of staging dates.

The Pensions Regulator are encouraging employers to use the new tool on their website, albeit, this tool appears somewhat flawed. However, it may be worth a visit to help you identify important information relevant to you and your obligations http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk.

ECJ Ruling – Employees sick while on annual leave can retake time off

The ECJ (European Court of Justice) has ruled that employees who fall sick during their annual leave have the right to re-take that annual leave at a later date, irrespective of when they fell ill.

The ECJ stated that “the purpose of entitlement to paid annual leave is to enable the worker to rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure. The purpose of entitlement to sick leave is different, since it enables a worker to recover from an illness that has caused them to be unfit for work.”

The date of when this is to be brought in is yet to be confirmed.

The UK Government is planning to amend the Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833) to take account of the ECJ case law on sickness during annual leave.

Tribunal Awards

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that an employee’s dishonesty during a disciplinary hearing may justify a reduction in their compensation. So, if an employee misleads you, or lies in any way, keep a record as this could be persuasive evidence.

On 1 February 2012 the limits applying to some employment tribunal awards were increased…

  • Unfair dismissal (basic award) £12,900 (£430 per wk)
  • Unfair dismissal (compensatory award) £72,300
  • Discrimination claim £unlimited
  • Contract claim in an employment tribunal £25,000
  • Failure to inform and consult over a collective redundancy 90 days’ actual pay
  • Failure to inform and consult over a TUPE transfer 13 weeks’ actual pay
  • Failure to give written statement of employment details 4 wks pay (up to £1,720)
  • Breach of flexible working regulations 8 wks pay (up to £3,440)

Fixed Price HR Packages

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Each additional individualised contract from £10.00 per contract 

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If the above doesn’t cover what you’re looking for, we can discuss creating a more bespoke package just for you.  You can also opt to just pay as you go or if you prefer, a monthly retained subscription package.  We’ll work together to produce what you need.

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