The government has this afternoon revealed the outcome of its review of Employment Tribunal fees and launched a consultation on new proposals to change the ET fees remission scheme (called ‘Help with Fees’).
The planned changes are relatively minor. Under the proposals, the gross monthly income threshold for a fee remission would be increased from £1,085 to £1,250: broadly the level of someone working full time and earning the National Living Wage. In other words, a single person who earns less than that amount would not have to pay a tribunal fee, assuming their disposable capital is also below the relevant threshold. Additional allowances for people living as couples and for those with children would continue to apply. There are, however, no plans to increase the disposable capital threshold for a fee remission and nor does the government plan to reduce fee levels (although fees are being removed completely for some claims relate to payments from the National Insurance Fund).
The proposed reforms will fall a long way short of satisfying those who have called for an overhaul of the fees regime. That fight for reform will continue on 27 March, when the Supreme Court hears Unison’s appeal against the rejection of its legal challenge by the Court of Appeal. Although the government now acknowledges that ‘there does appear to be evidence that fees have discouraged some people from bringing proceedings’ it states that there is ‘no conclusive evidence that anyone has been prevented from doing so.’
The consultation closes on 14 March 2017.