News from the sharp end.
The introduction of Tribunal fees in July last year had resulted in a staggering 79% reduction of new claims in the final quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
One of the justifications for the introduction of fees was that it would weed out employees who were just ‘having a go’ to put employers under pressure to pay them off. But there were also concerns raised that the fees would deter employees with valid claims who (often having lost their jobs) simply could not afford to go to Tribunal. With this fall in claims, it seems that these fears may have been justified.
It is now the turn of employers to be discouraged from defending claims against them, as Tribunals will be getting new powers to impose financial penalties on employers who lose at Tribunal. If the ACAS early conciliation works as well as the government seems to be hoping, it may be that some people will be questioning the need for Employment Tribunals at all.
You can read about these plans and the other key employment law changes,
ACAS Early Conciliation
Discrimination Questionnaires abolished
New powers of Employment Tribunals
Right to request flexible working now open to all
Statutory increases to Maternity, Paternity, Redundancy and Sick Pay
There are other things to look forward to in 2014, including a new government service to help employees, employers and GPs manage sickness absence and the extension of flexible working.