Monday 29th July saw one of the biggest shake ups in employment law since the introduction of the industrial tribunal system in the 1970s. Avid fans of LAWmail will know that we have reported on most of these issues already but, just in case you’ve missed them, here’s our Graham with a quick recap:
- ET Fees: employees seeking redress in the employment tribunal will now have to pay a fee to raise their claim. Taking a claim to hearing stage will cost an employee £1,200 for unfair dismissal and HR/detriment claims and £390 for wages / holiday claims. Claimants with low incomes and savings will be entitled to a fee waiver.
- Cap on unfair dismissal awards: the compensatory element of unfair dismissal awards will now be capped at the lower of £74,200 or a year’s gross pay.
- Settlement agreements: the shiny new name for compromise agreements, under which employers and employees can agree a mutual termination with the employee receiving a pay-off in exchange for waiving their right to raise an ET claim.
- Protected conversations: linked to settlement agreements; if an employer ticks certain procedural boxes, conversations leaving to settlement agreements will be excluded from evidence in legal proceedings.
- New ET rules: there are now new rules governing the operation of employment tribunals in the UK. These are broadly the same as the old rules, the main changes being that there will be a more vigorous paper sift to weed out weak cases and that case management discussions and pre-hearing reviews will now both be known as preliminary hearings.
More changes are already in the pipeline with employee-shareholder contracts arriving in September and ET fines for employers expected from October. Watch this space…