Employment Updates - October 2013

October 2013

New Remissions System for Court and Tribunal Fees

The Government has introduced a new remissions system for Courts and Tribunals, which applies a disposable capital test as well as a household income test and which is expected to significantly reduce the number of applicants who qualify for full or partial remission of Employment Tribunal fees.  If a person’s disposable capital exceeds the threshold for a given fee, they will not be entitled to remission.  For example, the remission of any fee of up to £1,000 is limited to applicants with disposable capital of not more than £3,000.  Disposable capital includes all forms of savings and any redundancy payments, but excludes any payment made to settle an unfair dismissal claim.

Dismissals for gross misconduct may not necessarily be fair

In the recent case of Brito-Babapulle V Ealing Hospital NHS Trust EAT, 14.6.13 (0358/12) the Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that gross misconduct by an employee does not necessarily justify dismissal and employers should consider, for example, whether the employee’s disciplinary work record, length of service and/or mitigation factors would make another sanction more appropriate. 

Consultation on zero-hours contracts

The Government is to launch a consultation on tackling abuse of zero-hours contracts.  Four key areas of concern are exclusivity clauses, lack of transparency, uncertainty of earnings and the balance of power between employer and employee. 

Minimum wage

New national minimum wage rates came into force on 1 October 2013 with the rate for workers aged 21 and over rising to £6.31 per hour, the rate for those aged 18 to 20 rising to £5.03 per hour and the rate for those aged 16 to 17 rising £3.72 per hour.  The apprentice rate rises to £2.68 per hour.

The Government has also announced that it will be asking the Low Pay Commission to consider how the national minimum wage can be raised faster than currently.

For more information, please contact our Employment Law Department on  01296 318500.