Coffin Mew's Employment News Issue 61
“Somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a note on the windscreen. It said ‘Parking Fine.’”
It was touch and go this week whether I would be able to produce my ramblings. And before you ask, it wasn’t because I was recovering in hospital following my ill conceived mother-in-law joke last week – thankfully the bruising went down quickly and didn’t require any medical attention. The real reason was because the Employment Team has been busy preparing for the next round of employment seminars so that we are ready to go after the (so called) summer break. As we pride ourselves on listening to our clients, if there are any particular topics that you would like us to include, please feel free to let me know and we will try our best to include them.
Right, I had better get on with the legal bit, because if I fail in my responsibilities, I will no doubt be hauled in front of a Parliamentary Select Committee before I can say ‘G4S’. To be honest, I’m beginning to feel like I’m the only person in the country that has NOT been called before a Select Committee – maybe a couple more mother-in-law jokes might do the trick…?
The Legal Bit
Let’s talk about money. As you might have heard, the Ministry of Justice has just published its response to the consultation on charging fees in the employment tribunal. The MoJ’s document confirms the Government’s intention to introduce fees in the summer of 2013. The Government plans that there will be two stage payments of fees - the first fee will be payable when the claim is issued and the second fee will become payable just prior to the hearing.
The Government has also announced that the fee structure will be made up of two levels of fee.
Level 1 claims will mainly include straightforward claims for easily defined sums, such as unauthorised deductions from wages and redundancy payments. These types of claims would cost £160 when the claim is issued and a further £230 at the hearing stage.
Level 2 claims cover the majority of other claims, including unfair dismissal and discrimination claims. These types of claims would cost £250 when the claim is issued and a further £950 at the hearing stage.
In addition, the Government also plans to have a fee structure for claims involving multiple claimants. Claims involving between two and ten claimants will be charged twice the applicable fee for a single claim; those involving 11-200 claimants would be charged four times the single fee.
Also, if the Employment Tribunal case is appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, this will incur an appeal fee of £400 and a hearing fee of £1200.
As you can see, these are not insignificant sums and the Government is clearly trying to make claimants think carefully before they decide to issue proceedings against an employer. This may be good news for employers, but bear in mind that the Government plans to give tribunals a discretionary power to order the losing party to pay any costs of the successful party’s fees, which will introduce an interesting dynamic into settlement negotiations.
Finally, the Government will also include a remission system, which is currently used in the other civil courts, which allows those on low incomes to be excused payment. Bearing in mind a lot of cases involve people who have just lost their job, it will be interesting to see how this new system makes any difference if a lot of claimants will be spared the issue fees in any event. Watch this space….
As an aside.....
What have dental technicians, kennel workers, cloakroom attendants and actors all got in common (apart from the potential for becoming participants in a dodgy reality television programme based on dining at each other’s homes)? Tell us the answer I hear you cry, as you barely contain your collective indifference. Well, they are some of the occupations that have proven to be the most law abiding citizens when it comes to driving convictions, according to the car insurance comparison website Tiger.co.uk.
At the other end of the spectrum, the occupations that have to sit on the naughty step when it comes to driving convictions include nurses, midwifes, funeral directors and financial advisers, with the award for the naughtiest driving occupation going to choreographers, who have the highest number of driving convictions per mile driven. I’m afraid that those of us involved in the world of employment matters did not fare well. Out of 313 occupations, Human Resources Managers were 25th (the naughty choreographers were 1st by the way), Human Resources Officers were 47th, closely followed by Chief Executives and Managing Directors in 48th place! What about the lawyers? A comfortably naughty 30th position – thereby reinforcing the lawyer’s maxim “do as we say, not as we do”!
Until next week.