The law has changed for the world of employment recently. Whereas in the past it seemed to be the case that almost anyone could take their employer to a tribunal and win endless amounts of money, that is all set to change. Employment lawyers in London and across the U.K. may find themselves inundated with questions about new laws that are coming in. These laws will see the whole process subjected to a crack-down so how could it all affect you?
Obviously, if an employee wants to take their employer to a tribunal for whatever reason they have, they will still be allowed to do this. It would appear that the main changes to the employment laws are to prevent people taking advantage of the system. For example, if you want to make a claim against your employer, you will now need to pay a tribunal fee.
The cost of this fee depends on what type of claim you are lodging. A smaller issue such as unpaid wages is considerably less than a large issue like unfair dismissal. In both circumstances, there is a hearing fee and an issue fee. Although unions are trying to fight this, it does seem to be the case that the fees will be around to stay.
There have been circumstances in the past where staff have been awarded huge amounts of money in unfair dismissal claims. However, new legislation will see claimants subjected to a limit on how much they can claim. The new amounts are set at either £74,200 or the equivalent to 52 weeks of the claimant's salary, whichever is the lower amount.
While this may seem reasonable to many people, there have been instances in the past where claimants have been thought to have made claims just to play the system. The new rules could see claimants having a realistic attitude to the tribunal at the beginning, rather than just trying to get extra cash out of the system.
Another law that is set to change is one that comes in with employers discussing termination options with employees. The law had previously meant that an employer could have a settlement discussion with an employee that couldn't be used as evidence in tribunal proceedings. However, there needed to be a dispute in place for the employer to have this conversation. The new regulations remove the need for an existing dispute.
The situation now means that employers can enter into termination discussions with their staff at any point and do not need to worry about it being held against them. Although employers have this option, they may choose to instigate a formal dispute instead, trying to cover themselves as much as possible. However, the regulations could technically see employers calling staff members in for a meeting that is actually the first stage of making it clear they want to terminate their employment. What staff members expect to be a quick progress chat could become something considerably more serious and both sides need to be aware of that.