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Changes to Legislation in October 2013

 

Increase in NMW rates

The following rates apply to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) from 1 October 2013:

Workers aged 21 and over £6.31 per hour

Workers aged 18 to 20 £5.03 per hour

Workers aged 16 to 17 £3.72 per hour

Apprentices (those under the age of 19 and older apprentices in the first year of apprenticeship) £2.68 per hour

 

Changes to the Employment Tribunal Process

Since 29th July 2013 there is now a requirement for anyone taking a Company to Tribunal to pay a fee. The idea being that this fee will encourage an early settlement of claims.

The fees are set at two levels, depending on the nature of the claim:

Type A claims are straightforward claims for defined sums, e.g. sums due on termination of employment such as redundancy pay, holiday pay or unauthorised deductions from wages.

Type B claims are more complex, e.g. unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing.

The fees are also in two parts - The claimant must pay an initial issue fee when they lodge a claim and, if the claim is set down for a final hearing, they must then pay an additional fee as detailed below.

Type A: £160 issue fee, £230 hearing fee

Type B: £250 issue fee, £950 hearing fee

All such claims should be lodged first with ACAS to allow pre-claim conciliation to take place, This is set to come into force in April 2014.

A new cap of one year’s salary has been introduced in respect of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal. This involves an individual limit for successful claimants of one year’s salary, subject to the existing overall limit (currently £74,200).

 

Useful Do’s and Don’ts for Employers when faced with a Tribunal claim

Do

  • recognise that employees have a wide range of employment statutory rights
  • abide by the strict time limits for response
  • provide full information and documentation to defend a tribunal claim
  • take seriously the presentation of a questionnaire in respect of an employee’s allegation of discrimination or unequal pay
  • prepare thoroughly for the hearing.....
  • use the services of an ACAS conciliation officer where necessary
  • consider carefully whether a compromise agreement, now settlement agreement, would be a better more satisfactory way of resolving the dispute
  • consider whether mediation would help to resolve the dispute.

Don’t

  • attempt to remove, or contract out of, any statutory rights to which employees are entitled
  • delay in returning form ET3 (response form) to the tribunal
  • try to hide any relevant facts from an employment tribunal
  • attempt to defend a case when it is obvious that the employee’s claim will succeed at a tribunal hearing
  • ignore a questionnaire presented by an employee in respect of a complaint of discrimination or unequal pay

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