Red Tape Challenge:  focus on employment law

On 7 April 2011, the Government announced its Red Tape Challenge, which invites members of the public to comment on areas of regulation that should be scrapped or improved.  The next phase of the Challenge has now been launched and this phase throws the spot light on employment law.  Until 19 October 2011, employers and employees can comment on employment-related legislation that they feel could be improved or simplified, or should be abolished.  The extent to which employment legislation can actually be abolished or even amended remains questionable, given that so much of it comes from Europe.  However, if you wish to make your views known, the consultation can be found by clicking here.

Unfair dismissal qualifying period and Tribunal fees

The Chancellor announced last week two important changes to the Employment Tribunal system, designed to reduce the number of Tribunal claims and boost the economy.  Firstly, the one year qualifying period for bringing a claim for unfair dismissal will be increased to two years, from as early as 6 April 2012.  Secondly, fees will be introduced for claimants to bring a claim.  Whilst the precise level of such fees are still being consulted on, it is understood that they may take the form of an initial fee to raise a claim, with a further fee being payable upon the case being scheduled for a Hearing.  Fees will be recoverable upon success (although it is not clear whether this is refunded by the Tribunal, or payable by the employer), and there may be exemptions for those without the means to pay (although no information has been provided on how this is measured – if it is simply on the basis of being in receipt of income support, most individuals who have just lost their job will qualify).  It is understood the fees will be introduced from April 2013.