Introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals

The days of employees being able to pursue claims in the Employment Tribunals for free are over. Since 29 July 2013 claimants have to pay an issue fee when submitting a claim to the Tribunals and a hearing fee before the full hearing.

The introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals covers all types of tribunal claims, appeals and applications. The level of the fees will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the claim and is based on the average cost of that particular claim although the introductory fee levels will be lower than the full cost of the claim.

The amount of the issue and hearing fees will depend on whether a claim is categorised as a ‘Level 1 Claim’ or a ‘Level 2 Claim.

Level 1 Claims
These are the more simple claims such as claims for sums due on termination of employment (unpaid wages, holiday pay and redundancy payments etc.):

  •  Issue Fee: £160
  • Hearing Fee: £230

Level 2 Claims
These are the more complex claims such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, equal pay complaints etc:

  • Issue Fee: £250
  • Hearing fee: £950

The fees are payable in advance by the claimant and failure to pay will result in the claim not being accepted or not being allowed to continue unless the employee qualifies for remission of fees.

Remission of Fees
No Tribunal fees are payable if, at the time the fee would otherwise have been payable, the employee receives a ‘qualifying benefit’ such as income support, working tax credit, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, guarantee credit, or income-related employment and support allowance. Further, an employee may also qualify for remission of fees based on his (and his partner’s) gross annual income or his disposable income at the time the fees would otherwise have been payable.

The Tribunals will have the power to order that the employer pays the fees if the employee is successful at the hearing (which technically will mean that the employee will be reimbursed if he wins the case). However, as it is the claimant who has to pay the fees up front, it is anticipated that the measure will result in fewer cases being commenced in tribunals. Employers will certainly hope to see a reduction in the number of claims being issued merely as a tool to negotiating a termination package.

For further details please contact The Employment Team