Employment Tribunal Review | Essential Guide for Employers
The Law Commission has recently conducted an employment tribunal review and has published its report on the tribunal structure, putting forward a series of 23 recommendations. Whilst some points are rather niche and will have limited impact on the vast amount of claims, there are some points which will have widespread impact on businesses and could result in quite a change to the tribunal system.
Employment Tribunal Review | Key Recommendations
- 1. To make the time limit for any employment tribunal claim within six months. Currently, the majority of claims within the employment tribunal are required to be submitted within 3 months of the act / termination of employment (which can be extended through the ACAS early conciliation process). Part of the logic is that 3 months is a very strict time limit, it is perhaps the most strict limitation period across all types of litigation, which not only can it cause unfairness, but it also means that Claimants concentrate on litigation rather than seeking alternative employment in the immediate aftermath of any situation.
- 2. The test of ‘reasonably practicable’ would be removed and replaced by extensions of time being granted on a ‘just and equitable’ basis. This would relax the test for whether or not a claim will be accepted out of time, again, relaxing the strict limitation tests for employment tribunal tests.
- 3. The tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear breach of contract claims to be extended from £25,000 to £100,000. Whilst this appears to be a significant jump in the value of claims potentially being heard in the employment tribunal, it would be getting back ‘in step’ with the county courts. The sum of £25,000 had not been increased since it was introduced in 1994. This would potentially remove different claims being brought in different jurisdictions with the same people, and allows the tribunal to be a ‘one stop shop’ for virtually all claims relating to work.
- 4. Having the BEIS employment tribunal penalty scheme automatically triggered should the employer not pay an award by a set date. Since its introduction of the penalty scheme, there have been only a few penalties awarded and has had virtually no impact on companies paying awards to successful Claimants.
There are obviously additional issues but these are some of the proposals which may have the biggest and widest impact on the tribunal system.
The employment tribunal review and its recommendations are, it has to be noted, merely recommendations, and still require any Government to discuss the proposals in Parliament, and changes to the current system would take time before any, some, or all recommendations were acted upon.
Speak to our legally trained Employment Law Consultants today for specific employer advice about any employment tribunal queries you may have.