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News - 29 July 2013

New Employment Tribunal Fees

Workers bringing claims against their employers now have to pay a fee for the first time since employment tribunals began. From today, workers will be charged one fee to bring a claim, another fee if it is heard and a further charge if they want to appeal the decision.

Smaller claims such as unpaid wages will cost £160 to lodge and another £230 if they proceed. Larger ones like unfair dismissal will cost an initial £250 and then another £950.

These fees have been welcomed by the CBI and Federation of Small Businesses arguing they would help reduce speculative or weak claims, and the Government insisted it was right to take some of the £74m cost of workplace disputes away from the taxpayer.

However, Union bosses and employment lawyers have predicted forcing employees to pay up to £1,200 to make a claim for unfair dismissal and discrimination will spark "chaos".

Unite chief Len McCluskey claimed the "work-bashing Government" had engineered "a throwback to Victorian times".
"We estimate that this will affect 150,000 workers a year. This is not an aid to economic recovery but a means to keep working people frightened and insecure."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "By charging up-front fees for harassment and abuse claims, the Government is making it easier for employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour.

Justice Minister Helen Grant said: "It's important that we try to reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer. It costs £74m per annum to run the employment tribunal system and we genuinely feel that users who can afford to contribute should do so."

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