6 April is fast approaching, and while for some it just signals a new tax year, for us employment lawyers it signals the bi-annual change of employment law legislation. This year we are in for a particular treat, as there are fairly major changes on the way. Make sure your business is not caught out and read on to ensure you are aware of what is coming
- Unfair dismissal.The qualifying period will increase from one to two years. This will only affect employees whose employment starts on or after 6 April 2012.
- Deposit orders. The maximum deposit a tribunal will be able to order a party to pay if their claim has little reasonable prospect of success is increased from £500 to £1,000. The change will affect all casespresentedon or after 6 April 2012.
- Costs awards. The maximum amount of costs an employment tribunal can award (without referring the case to the county court for detailed assessment) will increase from £10,000 to £20,000. The change will affect all casespresentedon or after 6 April.
- Witness statements. Where witness statements are used, they will stand as evidence in chief and be taken as read at the hearing, unless a judge or tribunal directs otherwise.
- Witness expenses.State funded witness expenses are to be withdrawn. Tribunals will have the powers to direct parties to bear the expenses of any witness . The government will withdraw state-funded expenses. The new power will affect claimspresentedon or after 6 April 2012.
- Judges to sit alone on unfair dismissal cases.Unfair dismissal cases in the tribunal will be heard by a judge sitting alone without lay members, unless the judge orders otherwise. This will affect all casesheardon or after 6 April 2012.