Citizen's Advice Blog: February 2011

First published in Citizens' Advice Bureau blog The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

Workers watch out!

The Government is working on plans to reform Employment law, and some of these could come into effect as soon as April 2012 if the Parliamentary timetable goes to plan. CABs across the country are worried about many of the possible changes. If you have a problem at work then get advice before April to make sure you qualify under the current rules.

So what are these proposed changes?

•At present, workers only get protection against unfair dismissal after they have been in their job for 12 months.

This will increase to two years.

CAB estimate that this will make the jobs of three million workers even more insecure than they are already.

• Amongst the changes to the Employment Tribunal process, claimants will face increased application fees, witness expenses will be abolished, a big increase in awarded costs for those losing claims, and judges will sit alone in making decisions.

The CAB view is that these changes will create a substantial barrier to justice for low-paid workers needing to defend their rights.

Meanwhile, there are no proposals to help people get the money they are due from winning their employment tribunal case.

The Government has said that it will explore options for a quicker, cheaper alternative system for more straightforward claims, but so far there is no indication of what this might be, with April just weeks away.

You can help us lobby Government for amendments by letting us know your experiences, contact your local CAB or use our online feedback form: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VBXRJN7 Free, confidential advice and help is available from the Citizens Advice Bureau on any aspect of debt, benefits, employment, and any other problems.

You can contact the Grange or Windermere Citizens Advice Bureau by phone or in person.

Call 015395 33100 / 015394 46464 or www.cumbriaruralcab.org.uk

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