Don't Worry Boss You've Got 2 Years to 'Sack' Him
The concept of qualifying lengths of service that protect employees from being unfairly dismissed have been 'tinkered' with by many a government, usually due to political pressure.
So it came as no surprise to many when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered a speech to the Conservative Party Conference on 3 October 2011 confirming that there would be changes to existing employment tribunal rules of procedure including the unfair dismissal qualifying period rising to 2 years and fees being introduced for employment tribunal claims.
Changes to Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure Will Happen in 2012 and Save Businesses Millions Every Year
This substantial change to employment tribunal rules of procedure is scheduled to take effect from 6th April 2011. The rationale, we are told, is to encourage employers to take on new employees.
We are also told that the new employment tribunal rules of procedure will save businesses £6 million per year with an estimated reduction of 2,000 claims annually.
The Most Controversial Change to Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure Will be The Introduction of Fees
The equally and perhaps more controversial change to employment tribunal rules of procedure is the introduction of fees into the system. Many a time served lawyer would have never believed that such a draconian measure would ever be allowed to creep into what has always been regarded as a medium for employee disputes to be justly erred and resolved.
However, in recent years, there has been a push by business leaders and aggressive respondent lawyers to change employment tribunal rules of procedure and follow the civil justice system. In this system the 'pay as you go' concept of paying court fees as a claim proceeds through its various stages not only subsidies the civil justice system, but also allows a successful litigant to recover its fees from the unsuccessful party.
Will The Introduction of Fees Deter Those Who Feel Justly Wronged by an Employer?
It remains to be seen whether and to what extent introducing fees into employment tribunal rules of procedure will deter those who feel justly and truly wronged by their employer.
The new employment tribunal rules of procedure propose that an issue fee for starting a claim will cost in the region of £250 and in addition a listing fee of £1,000 will be charged for listing the case for a hearing.
It is inevitable that once this 'door has been opened' there will be a greater push for more widespread costs measures to be introduced and the jurisdiction of employment tribunal rules of procedure to align itself closely with its civil justice partner.
New Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure Will Mean Employees Become Savvier
What we can tell you is that employment claims will continue to be made and that employees will become savvier as to how they can assert their rights at work without having to wait a period of 2 years to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
These rights exist now. Employers should not rest on their laurels in thinking that these proposed changes to employment tribunal rules of procedure will allow them to take a casual approach to employee engagement and management.
For employees, don't be disheartened by these changes to employment tribunal rules of procedure. You may be surprised to learn that there are a substantial number of employment rights already protecting you.
Written by Clive Mackintosh- Employment Law Solicitor
If you would like advice on the changes to employment tribunal rules of procedure then please contact our employment law team on 08000 111 303 or visit www.hattonslaw.com