Mixed welcome for law changes

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PLANNED changes to the employment tribunal system and unfair dismissal rules have been given a mixed welcome by the business community.

The measures, announced by the Government, will mean employees will not be able to claim unfair dismissal from a company until they have been employed for more than two years; and that a fee system will be introduced for those workers who try and bring claims against businesses.

The Government has claimed the changes could save businesses almost £6m a year.

North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy said: “The measures have achieved a big thumbs-up.

“A recent survey showed one in five businesses have been threatened with a tribunal in the past three years and a large proportion opt for settlement since the cost is lower than defending a claim.”

Chris Boyle, head of employment for Napthens solicitors, based on Whitehills Business Park, said: “This announcement will be good for many businesses. We saw a claim boom begin about 10 years ago when the qualifying period reduced to one year.”

The latest Tribunal Service figures reveal that in the past two years claims have risen by 44 per cent.

David Aird, employment law specialist at Edward Street-based Lackhurst Budd, added: “Increasing the period to two years could diminish access to justice.

“A more considered method would be a rigorous vetting of claims.”