Employers have predicted that the number of tribunal claims will rise following the increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal, as employees will bring cases under different headings, according to the latest survey by XpertHR.
In April, the Government extended the length of service required for an employee to bring an unfair dismissal claim from one year to two years, in a bid to increase business confidence when hiring workers and reduce the number of tribunal claims.
At the time, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said that the change would reduce the number of unfair dismissal claims by between 3% and 5%.
However, according to the research from XpertHR, more than half (51%) of employers said that they believe that the overall number of employment tribunal claims will rise following the change because there will be an increase in the number of claims made under other headings, such as discrimination, where there is no service requirement.
Rachel Suff, XpertHR employment relations researcher and author of the report, said: “If this forecast is borne out, the Government’s legislative change, designed to help reduce the number of employment tribunal claims, could prove to be counter-productive.”
Just one employer in five (22%) of the 258 surveyed by XpertHR thought that the number of tribunal claims would fall following the increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims.
However, despite employers’ scepticism about the impact of the changes on the number of tribunal claims, the latest Ministry of Justice employment tribunal statistics suggest that claims may be falling on their own.
During the year to the end of March 2012, prior to the extension of the unfair dismissal qualifying period, there was a 15% fall in the number of tribunal claims accepted by employment tribunals on the previous year.