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Playing Politics

What the General election could mean for employers

The General Election will influence the number of employment tribunal cases in the UK – these have taken a dramatic tumble since the coalition government introduced fees of £1200 (in England) to bring unfair dismissal cases – the number of single claims has dropped 76% (you can read more in are article here)…..but can you guess which parties are likely to send them back on the up again? 

The General Election will influence the number of employment tribunal cases in the UK – these have taken a dramatic tumble since the coalition government introduced fees of £1200 (in England) to bring unfair dismissal cases – the number of single claims has dropped 76% (you can read more in are article here)…..but can you guess which parties are likely to send them back on the up again?

What are the various political parties saying about employment tribunal fees in their election manifestos?

Conservative: no change, unsurprising as the conservatives introduced the fees with their coalition partners, believing there were too many frivolous claims affecting employers (in fact even in the old days before fees an employer with 10 staff could expect to lose a tribunal only once in a hundred years….) Under the tories then, tribunal claims could be expected to continue at their current low level.

Liberal Democrats: review fees to ensure they are not a barrier to justice, something claimed by public sector union UNISON in there thus far unsuccessful attempts to convince the courts, this case is not dead yet. Under the LibDems then we may see some increases in tribunal claims (assuming the fees are a barrier to justice….which in all honesty, they are)….but we’re really not sure yet…

Labour: abolish the employment tribunal fees system…. As Temple Chambers employment barrister Daniel Barnett astutely points out, this is not the same thing necessarily as abolishing tribunal fees, though of course labour will be under massive pressure from their trade union backers to do precisely that. Under Labour then, assuming fees are abolished with the fee system, we will presumably see a return to the pre-fee tribunal numbers with a small but headline grabbing spike at the beginning as those potential claimants still in time to bring a claim but who wouldn’t have done so under the pre-regime submit their ET1s.

Greens: reduce employment tribunal fees to make them accessible to workers. A little more assertive than the LibDems, but of course it all depends on by how much they reduce fees. If we assume they emulate the system in Scotland (where fees are very much lower) then if the Greens get to power in any shape or form we can assume some upward trend in tribunal claims.

UKIP: are silent on this one, though have some assertive views on certain other areas of employment law taking a predictably more employer led stance, including on agency workers regulations (abolish) and zero hours contracts.

The excellent employment law blog ‘Hard Labour’ provides a more detailed description of the employment-law related positions of the various political parties, you can access the guide here: http://hardlabourblog.com/hard-labour-guide-to-ukemplaw-election-pledges/

(Our thanks to Daniel Barnett for providing a lot of the content for this article and the entire inspiration for it!)

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