The Ministry of Justice has issued a press release today confirming the date on which fees for the use of the Employment Tribunal will become payable.
Fees in the Employment Tribunal are to become payable for claims presented on or after 29 July 2013. If you are therefore thinking of commencing a claim in the Employment Tribunal or submitting an appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal on or after this date then the Claimant (or appellant) will have to pay the issue fee. Other types of fees will also apply over the course of the case, as we’ll see below. Employment solicitors expect that the introduction of fees will have an impact upon the number and types of claim received.
The level of fee payable in the Employment Tribunal will depend upon the type of claim submitted. Qualifying Claimants will also be able to apply for a waiver of the fees under a scheme to be set out under the new rules, as we’ll see below.
The types of claim are divided into two “levels” under the new system:
- Level 1: unlawful deduction of wages claims, claims for statutory redundancy pay and claims for pay in lieu of notice (“PILON”) – a fee of £160 is chargeable for the issue of the claim and a further fee of £230 is payable for the Employment Tribunal hearing itself to be held
- Level 2: unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims, whistleblowing claims and equal pay claims – a fee of £250 is chargeable for the issue of the claim and a further fee of £950 is chargeable for the Employment Tribunal hearing itself to be held
If the fees are not paid then the Claimant will either be dismissed or frozen until the fees are paid – how this mechanism will operate is not currently clear.
Claimants will be able to apply for a waiver of their fees if they qualify to do so. Claimants will qualify for a full remission of the Employment Tribunal fee they have paid if they are in receipt of the “qualifying benefits”:
- Income Support;
- Income-based Job Seekers Allowance;
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance;
- Working tax credit, provided that no child tax credit is being paid to the party; and
- Guarantee credit under the State Pension Credit Act 2002
If a Claimant doesn’t receive the above benefits then whether they qualify for the remission (in part or in full) will depend upon an assessment of either their gross annual income or their monthly disposable income.
Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented that “the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal marks a sea-change in the manner in which the Employment Tribunal handles industrial disputes and, potentially, alters the balance of power between employees and their employer substantially. We are yet to see what – if any – the impact of fees will have on the number and types of claim presented to the Employment Tribunal on or after 29 July 2013 but this certainly represents a dramatic change in the philosophy of the Tribunal”.
Redmans Solicitors offer employment law advice to employees and employers