The introduction of fees for employees who bring a claim against their employer has been welcomed by some Scottish lawyers.
Under the new UK rules, they will have to pay £160 or £250 to lodge a claim, with a further charge of either £230 or £950 if the case goes ahead – meaning some people will have to pay up to £1,200 just have their cases heard.
The higher charges will cover cases like unfair dismissal, the lower ones issues such as unpaid invoices.
Fewer employment tribunals will be brought against businesses in Scotland, according to one firm.
Kim Pattullo, head of the employment team in Scotland for law firm HBJ Gateley, has said she thinks the new legislation will result in a fall in the number of tribunals.
“A huge amount of time and effort is currently wasted each year as HR departments across the country deal with what turn out to be groundless tribunal claims,” she said.
“The changes should help ensure that legitimate claims are dealt with effectively and in a timely manner.
“The tribunal service has been under a huge amount of pressure in recent years and spurious claims cost the Government, and Scottish businesses, a huge amount of money every year.”
Another employment lawyer said these changes would help cut out “frivolous” claims.
Eilidh Wiseman, a partner in the employment team at Dundas & Wilson, said: “I believe anything which helps reduce frivolous claims and speeds up the tribunal system will be welcomed by employers.
“Although fees may act as a deterrent, they should not affect those who are low paid.
“A new system will be introduced for those who cannot afford the fees to have those waived or reduced.”
Meanwhile, protests are set to take place against the fees.
The trade union, Unite said it will pay legal fees for its members while the GMB will stage a protest outside an employment tribunal in central London.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “What we are seeing today is injustice writ large as this worker-bashing Government takes a sledgehammer to workers’ rights – this is a throwback to Victorian times.
“Seeking redress for unfair dismissal and discrimination and other injustices in the workplace is a fundamental human right – but now ministers are putting up insurmountable financial hurdles for working people in pursuit of justice.
“We estimate that this will affect 150,000 workers a year. This is not an aid to economic recovery but a means to keep working people frightened and insecure.
“Unite will not stand idly by and let its members suffer such treatment – and the union will financially support members at employment tribunals.
“We will be campaigning strongly for this pernicious legislation to be repealed with the advent of a Labour government.”
Andy Prendergast, of the GMB, said: “The imposition of such fees represents the latest in a number of attacks on employment rights by the Government.
“Bad employers are being given the green light to continue exploiting their staff.
“The charging of £1,200 effectively means that many workers will lose any chance they had to seek redress if they are poorly treated.”