The Government intention to clamp down on unfair dismissal claims
It appears that the Government's aim to reduce employment regulations red tape will see the qualifying period for presenting unfair dismissal claims increase to two years. Claimants will also have to pay fees when attempting to bring cases to court.
Raising the time threshold for lodging an unfair dismissal claim and charging claimants fees for making them is likely not win the Government universal popularity with employees. The suggested logic behind the proposed changes is questioned by many as it may have costly unintended consequences.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne provided details of the changes at last month's Conservative Party conference. They are a manifestation of the Government's stated intent to cut businesses' red tape burden, a move that it hopes will make employers more likely to create jobs.
Osborne told the Party faithful that the qualifying period for an unfair dismissal claim will rise from one to two years from 1 April 2012. Fees will be introduced, although these will not be confirmed until after the Government responds to the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation, which closed in April 2011.
He indicated that this will include an upfront fee of £250 when lodging an ET1, a further fee of £1,000 if the claim is accepted into the system, and possibly higher fees for claims of more than £30,000. Fees will be refunded if claimants win their cases.