April 6 employment law changes

Posted: 6th April 2012

From 6 April 2012, the unfair dismissal qualifying period increases from one year to two years for those whose employment began on or after that date. Employees who started working for their employer prior to 6 April will continue to be eligible after one year’s service.
In addition, the Government has made changes to the rules that govern employment tribunal procedure, which include:
  • Judges being able to sit alone in unfair dismissal cases;
  • Witness statements being taken as read rather than the witness reading their statement aloud;
  • An increase in the maximum level for costs against unreasonable or vexatious parties from £10,000 to £20,000; and
  • Deposit orders (against claimants when a judge determines that a part of claim is unmerited) limit increased from £500 to £1,000.
Also from 6 April, the Government will publish the average value of tribunal awards and time taken for a case to be heard. This information will be included in the guidance for tribunal application and response forms to give all parties a greater understanding of what to expect from the tribunal process before they enter the system.