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New employment tribunal fees spark mixed response


Workers could be forced to pay up to £1,200 to lodge a claim against their employer, following the introduction of new employment tribunal fees.


Under the new system, there will be two ‘levels’ of claims. For level one claims i.e. those involving unpaid wages and redundancy pay, there will be an issue fee of £160 and a further charge of £230 if the case goes to a hearing.


For more complex level two claims, such as those relating to unfair dismissal, discrimination complaints and equal pay, there will be an issue fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950.


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have welcomed the changes, arguing that they will help to reduce the number of weak and vexatious claims taken to a tribunal.


The Government estimates that this could save the taxpayer around £74 million.


However, union bosses have criticised the new fee structure. Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union, said the introduction of fees was a ‘throwback to Victorian times’ and would affect 150,000 workers a year.


Meanwhile, the TUC described it as a ‘great day for Britain's worst bosses’. TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: ‘By charging upfront fees for harassment and abuse claims, the government is making it easier for employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour’.