The qualifying period to bring an unfair dismissal claim will double from 1 year to 2 years, with the exception of discrimination claims.  

Claimants will have to pay a fee to lodge a claim and for it to be heard in a Tribunal. This is likely to come into force in 2013.

The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation document on charging fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

In the Employment Tribunal, two alternative options have been put forward.

For the first option, the fee would depend on the nature of the claim, with three suggested levels:

• level one would cover claims for unpaid wages and redundancy payments;

• level two would cover unfair dismissal claims; and

• level three would be for discrimination and whistleblowing claims.

Separate issue and hearing fees are also proposed, with “indicative fees” of between £150-£250 for issue of a claim and £250-£1,250 for a hearing.

The second option would introduce a fourth level of fees for claims where the claimant is seeking an award of over £30,000. This proposed option would consist of issue only fees ranging from £200 to £1,750.

The consultation paper contains details about the proposals, including fee remission, fee refunds, discounts in the case of multiple claims and fees for other Tribunal procedures, such as requesting written reasons for judgment.

An issue fee of £400 and hearing fee of £1,200 is proposed for the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

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