Tribunal Fees are Finished and Refunds are being made - Are You Ready?
From today (20 November), anyone who paid tribunal fees when they were charged between July 2013 and July 2017 can apply for a refund via the government website.
This move follows a four-week trial phase in which 1,000 claimants were specifically contacted by the government and encouraged to request refunds.
It has been estimated 100,000 claims could be eligible for reimbursement now the scheme is fully open, and that up to £27m could ultimately be repaid to claimants.
The introduction of fees in 2013 is without doubt the reason for the consequent 70% reduction in employment claims.
The debate regarding this figure, of course, being how many of these claims were vexatious and how many were genuine.
So, can we expect a 70% rise in claims?
We expect them to rise but perhaps not the the pre-2013 levels as measure such as ACAS Early Conciliation and the increase in the unfair dismissal qualifying period from one to two years, still remain in place.
However, many employers have become complacent when faced with a challenging employee matter, some prepared to take the risk of doing nothing at all in the hope the fees would discourage employees from proceeding with a claim.
What measure can you take to protect yourself?
It’s time to get your house in order. Have well written, transparent HR policies in place and use them. Review your contracts of employment to ensure consistency. These actions alone will go a long way in assisting you defending your claim.