Know Your Limits

27 Mar

The annual statutory instrument has just been published. It increases the limits on certain employment tribunal awards and other amounts payable under employment legislation from 6 April 2014.
 
The notable changes include:
•    the limit on the amount of a week's pay for the purposes of calculating, among other things, statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £450 to £464
•    the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal goes up from £74,200 to £76,574. Note that since 29 July 2013 there has also been an additional cap of one year's salary on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal
•    the minimum basic award in cases where the dismissal was unfair by virtue of health and safety, employee representative, trade union, or occupational pension trustee reasons will increase from  £5,500 to £5,676.

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Emploment Tribunal Sign

The annual statutory instrument has just been published. It increases the limits on certain employment tribunal awards and other amounts payable under employment legislation from 6 April 2014.
 
The notable changes include:
•    the limit on the amount of a week's pay for the purposes of calculating, among other things, statutory redundancy payments and the basic award for unfair dismissal will increase from £450 to £464
•    the maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal goes up from £74,200 to £76,574. Note that since 29 July 2013 there has also been an additional cap of one year's salary on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal
•    the minimum basic award in cases where the dismissal was unfair by virtue of health and safety, employee representative, trade union, or occupational pension trustee reasons will increase from  £5,500 to £5,676.

The new rates apply where the event giving rise to compensation or payment occurs on or after 6 April 2014. For example, in the case of unfair dismissal the rates apply to all dismissals where the effective date of termination falls on or after this date. Where the dismissal or relevant event falls before 6 April, the old limits will still apply, irrespective of the date on which compensation is awarded.
 
The above limits on the maximum compensatory award do not apply to special cases of unfair dismissal – i.e. where the dismissal is for a health and safety reason (section 100), or for making a protected disclosure (103A).

Discrimination awards
Compensatory awards for lost income and other financial loss caused by unlawful discrimination are not subject to any cap.

Awards for injury to feelings, (which are not available in unfair dismissal cases, but which are available when caused by unlawful discrimination or by detriment arising during employment as a result of making a protected disclosure), are subject to limits established by case law. The current limits (which were set in the EAT in December 2009 in a case called Da’ Bell v National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) are as follows, depending on the seriousness of the injury: in minor cases awards will be in the range £500 to £6,000; in moderate cases awards will be in the range £6001 to £18,000 and in serious cases the awards will be in the range £18001 to £30,000.

Given the elapse of time since December 2009 it might be possible, in a suitable case to persuade a tribunal or the EAT that these injury to feeling award limits are due for an increase.

Jeremy Burns

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