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Employment law

How are employment tribunals effected by The Good Work Plan?

As the Good Work Plan continues to implement changes in UK employment law, discover which developments have already come into place and what implications this could have on employment tribunal fees.

17 February 2021

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Why is the law changing?

In 2017, the Taylor review of modern working practices proposed 53 recommendations to the government concerning issues in the labour market. In February 2018, the government had accepted the majority of these recommendations in their published response.

The changes included within the Good Work Plan are an attempt to lead the way in embracing modern changes whilst ensuring the protection of workers’ rights in the UK and providing greater transparency on casual working relationships.

What has already been enforced from the Good Work Plan 2020?

The government has already implemented changes which have affected many businesses across the UK. These include:

  • The right for all workers to receive clear information on their first day of work: In addition to the mandatory information that workers obtain, written statements must now include points such as days of the week they’re required to work, details of benefits and remuneration including paid leave they’re entitled to, probationary period (where applicable), notice periods for termination of employment, details of any training entitlement and length of work period. The right to receive a payslip has also been extended to cover all workers.
  • Increased employment tribunal penalty enforcement for aggravated breaches of employment law: From April 2019, the maximum penalty you can receive at employment tribunal increased to £20,000. Employment tribunal judges also have a duty to consider stronger punishments for employers who’ve ignored previous tribunal judgments.
  • Reference for calculating holiday pay: The holiday pay entitlement of a worker with irregular working hours increased from 12 to 52 weeks in April 2020. For those who’ve worked less than 52 weeks, this will be calculated on the total number of weeks they’ve worked.
  • Abolishment of the Swedish Derogation: The right to comparable pay now applies to all agency workers after 12 weeks rather than being determined by specific contractual arrangements.
  • Ban on employers taking deductions from staff tips

How are employment tribunals affected?

To stamp down on employers who’ve had a successful employment tribunal claim brought against them, the Government introduced a naming scheme. Released quarterly, the scheme publicises those employers who’ve not paid their employment tribunal awards within the time required alongside details of the award.

Whilst many of the changes are thought to be in the best interest of employees, it’s reported that the Government are considering the possible introduction of employment tribunal fees. Tribunal fees were originally abolished in July 2017 as the Supreme Court ruled them unlawful, which resulted in the Government refunding claimants approximately £32 million.

In November 2018, Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, had told the House of Commons that there were no immediate plans to reintroduce employment tribunal costs, though a new system of fees was being devised. The reintroduction was implied within the published Government Good Work Plan policy paper, with The Times also reporting in June 2020 that the head of the Law Commission had requested “recommendations for creating a coherent system for charging and updating fees in the future”.

The original fee model was dependent on the type of claim brought forward to the employment tribunal with claimants paying an issue fee with an additional hearing fee if the case escalated.

There are currently no implications as to whether the imposed fee would be delegated to employees or employers, though the structure would need to ensure employees have feasible access to seek action against unlawful behaviour.

Our employment lawyers are experts in all kind of employment disputes and work with you to ensure your case is dealt with efficiently from the offset to achieve the most favourable outcome.

Talk to one of our friendly employment law experts today by calling 0161 830 9632 or contact us and we'll be happy to call you.

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