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News - 4 April 2012
Important changes to employment tribunals
Changes, which are part of a radical government reform package, will come into effect on Friday to make it easier for businesses to hire staff and improve the process when staff have to be dismissed.
The government estimates that these changes will ultimately deliver direct net savings to business of more than £10 million a year with wider benefits to employers estimated at more than £40 million a year.
The Government has streamlined employment tribunals to cut unnecessary demands on employers, and encourage growth, while safeguarding workers’ rights including:-
- The qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal will rise from one to two years
- Judges will be able to sit alone in unfair dismissal cases
- Witness statements can be provided in writing as opposed to the current rules where a witness reads their own statement out aloud
- The maximum level for costs awarded to businesses winning a vexatious tribunal claim will rise from £10,000 to £20,000. Deposit orders required by claimants when a judge determines that a part of claim is unmerited will increase from £500 to £1,000.
Also from Friday, the government intends to publish the average value of awards and time taken to reach a hearing. Included in the guidance for tribunal application and response forms, this information will provide all parties with a greater understanding about what to expect from the tribunal process before they enter the system.
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