Jackie Le Poidevin, Editor-in-Chief, HR Adviser


Employment Tribunal Fees to Make a Comeback: Discover the Government’s Proposals

People could have to pay a modest fee to bring an employment tribunal claim in England or Wales from November 2024 under government proposals launched this week. Here, we look at what the plans are and what they could mean for your business.

What is the Government Proposing?

The Government has issued a consultation paper which proposes that:

  • Claimants will have to pay a one-off £55 fee when they present a claim.
  • The fee will be payable for both employment tribunal claims and appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
  • In the EAT, the fee will be payable for each tribunal decision, direction or order being appealed. For example, the fee to appeal against two tribunal decisions would be £110.
  • If multiple claimants are bringing a joint claim, the fee will remain at £55.
  • The fee could be waived or reduced for people on low incomes and with few savings.
  • A very small number of claims will be exempt, including claims for failing to collectively consult over large-scale redundancies.

Haven’t We Been Here Before?

Yes and no. Fees were introduced back in July 2013 but were scrapped in July 2017 after the Supreme Court held that they were unlawful. In R (Unison) v The Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51, the Court ruled that the fees were unaffordable, prevented access to justice and made it futile to pursue low-value claims.

However, a key difference is that those fees were much higher than they are under the latest proposals. Lodging a simple claim cost £160, with another £230 fee payable at the hearing stage (£390 in total). More complex claims, such as discrimination complaints, attracted a £250 issue fee and a £950 hearing fee (a total of £1200). EAT claims had a £400 issue fee and £1200 hearing (£1600 overall). The Supreme Court said this structure indirectly discriminated against women and other people with protected characteristics who were more likely to bring complex discrimination claims.

Although Unison and the TUC have criticised the new proposals, any legal challenge would seem less likely to succeed this time around given the lower rate and simpler fee structure. If we get a Labour Government, it might overturn the fees but, again, the low rate means it may not be interested in doing so.

    What Impact Could This Have on Employers?

    Having to pay £55 seems unlikely to deter a former worker who wants their day in court (especially as there’s no additional fee at the hearing stage) or who’s determined to cause trouble for their ex-employer. It’s also not going to stop the unions from bringing multiple claims, as the fee is fixed regardless of claimant numbers. When the previous fee regime was introduced, claims plummeted by two-thirds but a decrease seems unlikely this time.

    If the plans go ahead though, the Government is hoping this will raise £1.3 – £1.7 million a year from 2025-26 onwards. It would be nice to think this will result in some extra investment that will allow cases to be decided quicker – something which would benefit both employers and claimants. The consultation paper does say additional resources are needed to ensure the tribunal service can run efficiently and effectively. However, it also refers to reducing the burden on the taxpayer, which suggests the Government might just give the service less public money, leaving it no better off. The service cost £80 million to run in 2022-23, so the amount raised may also make little difference in practice, even if it’s all ploughed into the tribunals.


    What Should We Do Now?

    You don’t need to do anything. However, if you’d like to respond to the consultation, you can do so here. Questions include whether you agree with the proposed fee level. The consultation closes on 25 March.



    Emma Lampka, Editorial Board Member, Health & Safety Adviser and Risk Assessment & Compliance


    3 Steps to Protect Pedestrians from Workplace Transport Accidents

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has reported that a recycling company has been fined £2.15 million after an agency worker was killed by a loading shovel at its site in Hartlepool. The HSE inspectors stated that the death could have been prevented had the company implemented an alternative traffic route for pedestrians at its site.

    To protect your employees and prevent workplace transport accidents, follow these 3 simple steps:

    1. Risk Assess Your Site

    Your risk assessment should consider all hazards using the following steps:

    • Identify the hazard
    • Determine who might be harmed and how
    • Evaluate the risks and implement precautions
    • Record your findings
    • Review your assessment and update where necessary

    When assessing for vehicle and pedestrian risks in the area, consider where vehicles and pedestrians may come into contact with each other. You should also consider any blind spots for both pedestrians and vehicles within an area.

    2. Implement Precautions

    When implementing control measures, consider the hierarchy of control. This is a set of simple steps to help you implement the most effective control in order to reduce risk.

    • Eliminate the hazard: This would involve physically removing the hazard e.g. having no vehicles or pedestrians in the location. This control is the most effective but not always the most practical to implement.
    • Substitute: Replace the hazard. In the vehicle and pedestrian segregation scenario, this may not be feasible until newer technology is available.  However, it could be an option to have speed limited vehicles.
    • Engineering controls: Isolate people from the hazard. For example, having pedestrian route ways that completely avoid the vehicle working area and vice versa. Alternatively, implementing solid barriers between people and vehicles. Traffic lights and pedestrian walkways could be also be very beneficial as well as implementing mirrors in any blind spots for both vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Plus, Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) for your vehicles will ensure they are in good working order.
    • Administrative controls: Change the way people work by providing training for both pedestrians and vehicle drivers. You could also consider providing painted walkways for people to use.
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Although this should be your last line of defence, protect your workers with PPE. This could be in the form of high visibility clothing so that pedestrians are easier to spot.

    Consider using a combination of the above control measures to improve your protective and preventative arrangements within your business. Implementing engineering controls, administrative controls and PPE, rather than just relying on PPE, will reduce your risk considerably.


    3. Monitor Your Risk Assessment and Control Measures Regularly

    You should review your risk assessment and controls regularly and the frequency of this should be determined by your risk level, i.e. the higher the risk, the more frequently you should review your arrangements.

    By regularly monitoring your arrangements, you will identify if they remain adequate and keep your risks as low as is reasonably practicable. A review will also determine whether you need to make any changes or updates to the arrangements to further reduce risk.


      Sarah Bradford, Editor-in-Chief, Pay & Benefits Adviser

      Register to Payroll New Benefits in Kind in 2024/25

      HMRC have announced that payrolling is to become mandatory from April 2026. From 2026/27 onwards, the P11D will be no more. There are advantages to this – not only do you save the work associated with filing P11Ds, the employee should also pay the correct tax on their benefits in kind as it is deducted in real time.

      What is Payrolling?

      Payrolling is the name given to taxing taxable benefits in kind through the payroll. The taxable value of the benefit is treated like additional annual salary paid in instalments with the same frequency as the employee’s usual pay. This extra pay is added to gross pay for tax only, and tax worked out on the total and deducted from the employee’s cash pay.

      As most taxable benefits are liable to Class 1A (employer’s only) National Insurance, not Class 1, the taxable amount of the benefit is not added to gross pay for National Insurance purposes. Instead, the employer must still make a Class 1A return (P11D[b]).

      Excluded Benefits

      Currently, all benefits can be payrolled with the exception of living accommodation and taxable cheap loans. If these are provided, they must be notified to HMRC on form P11D.


      Currently, employers can only payroll benefits for a tax year if they are registered to do so before the start of the tax year. Once registered, the benefits remain registered; there is no need to register each year.

      Employers who are not currently payrolling and who wish to start doing so from the 2024/25 tax year will need to register no later than 5 April 2024. If you miss that date, you will have to wait until 2025/26 to start payrolling – it is not possible to start in-year. Employers who are already registered to payroll some benefits, will need to register any new benefits that they want to payroll for the first time in 2024/25 by the same date.

      To payroll benefits, you must be registered for PAYE Online, so will need to sign up to that first if you have not already done so. Before opting to payroll, check that your payroll software is able to deal with payrolled benefits.

      Employee Information

      If you decide to move to payrolling, you should inform your employees and explain what this means for them and that the tax on payrolled benefits will be deducted from their pay. Their tax code will no longer feature an adjustment in respect of taxable benefits in kind.

      Where you have payrolled benefits for a tax year, you must provide your employees with details of their payrolled benefits no later than 31 May after the end of the year in question.