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Fairer fees

5 January 2015
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People are being put off holding unfair employers to account by too-high fees and a lack of awareness about support, finds Citizens Advice.

New evidence from Citizens Advice reveals just under half of people with an employment issue would have to save for six months to afford tribunal fees of £1,200. The findings are from a Citizens Advice survey of people with employment problems.

In July 2013 the Government introduced fees to access the employment tribunal. The latest official figures released last week show a 66% reduction in applications.

The Government introduced fees in order to incentivise earlier settlements, ease the cost to taxpayers and bring the employment tribunal in line with other justice systems.

The new findings out today are based on a survey of 361 people who have been having problems at work. The Citizens Advice report, Fairer fees: Fixing the employment tribunal system, finds:

  • More than four in five (82%) said the current fee prices would make them less likely to claim or deter them from claiming altogether.
  • The income of people with employment troubles highlighted the problems with the level of fees. Over four in ten (43%) had a household income of less than £46 a week after essential bills.
  • Only three in ten (30%) were aware of eligible financial support for those on low incomes. Half who thought they weren’t eligible actually were.
  • Over half (53%) didn’t know what they could get out of making a claim and therefore whether it was financially worth their while.
  • Four in five (80%) said they raised issues with their employer before taking further action.

The research also showed that whilst people were put off by too-high fees, a clear majority would be willing to pay a fee. Nine in ten (90%) said they would not be put off by a £50 fee.

Fairer fees report [ 0.76 mb]