10th March 2011


 Issue No.  2011/05



 “Reforming Employment Tribunals” – Consultation

You may remember the previous Government (labour – just in case you had forgotten) tried to ‘Resolve workplace disputes’ and we had to endure the Statutory Discipline and grievance procedures, which given they were repealed it is fair to say failed miserably.
Reforming the tribunal system
Consultation documents have now been published on reforming access to the employment tribunal system which hopefully will signal some good news for employers.
The proposals include: 
  • increasing the minimum qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one year to two years continuous service;  
  • requiring the parties to contribute towards the cost of running employment tribunals, and the Employment Appeal Tribunal, by paying fees (e.g. Claimant pays a fee to commence proceedings and Respondent pays fees to lodge a Breach of Contract counter claim);  
  • requiring all claims to be submitted to Acas before a tribunal to allow Acas a period of up to a month to offer pre-claim conciliation. This is intended to enable potential claimants to have a clear understanding of issues, such as how long a case might take, and what a tribunal might award; 
  • introducing automatic financial penalties for employers found to have breached employment rights.  This would be on top of the ordinary compensation already payable and would generally be half the amount of the total award made to the claimant.  This would be payable to the Exchequer (ouch!!); 
  • extending the jurisdictions where employment judges can sit alone; 
  • removing the general requirement for tripartite panels in the EAT; 
  • reviewing the formula for calculating employment tribunal awards and statutory redundancy payment limits.
The consultation closes on 20 April 2011.  We will keep our usual eye on developments and report again in due course.





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Making sense of it all

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