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Sharp fall in employment tribunal hearings following fee review – March 16th

Employers are divided over whether employment tribunal fees should be scrapped because workers can no longer afford to make the claims, research shows. Since the fee system was introduced 14 months ago, the amount of claims has fallen by 70% to reduce vexatious cases.

Bosses of firms pressurised the Government to introduce deterrents in order to reduce the likelihood of drawn-out cases, as they were faced with costly and time consuming hearings.

However, the sharp drop in claims, coupled with union protests, has forced a rethink and Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has launched a review of tribunal fees, while Labour has promised a rethink if it wins the general election.

In a poll of 1,000 employers by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the unease among employers regarding the fees was reflected. 38% represented the majority who voted for no change but 36% believed the fees should be either significantly reduced or abolished altogether. The remaining 27% were undecided.

Employees with a dilemma can expect to pay up to £1,200 to bring a claim before a tribunal under the current fee system. Employers revealed that their costs to defend a case can accumulate to several thousand pounds and also involve them spending an average of 18 working days at hearings.