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Employment tribunals - preparing a schedule of loss for an unfair dismissal claim

This advice applies to England

Before you make a claim to an Employment Tribunal, it's important to work out what you think your claim is worth. You can also use this figure to negotiate with your employer to avoid making a claim to a tribunal. The amount that you ask for can be set out in a document called a schedule of loss.

A schedule of loss includes an amount for what you’re owed as well as compensation. You can ask for compensation for things such as the time you might have to spend out of work, or because your employer didn't follow the correct procedure when they dismissed you.

This page tells you more about a schedule of loss and what you need to include in your calculations.

What is a schedule of loss?

A schedule of loss is a document setting out how much you want the tribunal to award you if you win your claim.

There isn’t a standard form to use so many tribunal courts have developed their own forms. However, they should all follow the same general format. You should ask your tribunal office for a blank form and if they don’t produce one, you can use our template.

When should you prepare a schedule of loss?

A tribunal will usually order you to prepare a schedule of loss so that they can see the value of your claim. However, even if you’re not ordered to prepare one, it’s useful to do so because it’s a clear way of presenting the value of your claim.

You can also use a schedule of loss to try and negotiate an early settlement with your employer and avoid going to a tribunal.

Knowing what your claim is worth will help you know if a settlement offer is reasonable - check how much your claim could be worth.

You must let Acas know that you plan to make a claim to an employment tribunal. Acas will offer you the chance to resolve your dispute through early conciliation. If you can settle your dispute that way, you won’t have to go to a tribunal.

What should you include in a schedule of loss?

A schedule of loss is usually made up of two parts:

  • the basic award
  • the compensatory award.

The basic award

Your schedule of loss should include an amount for the basic award.

The compensatory award

How much you ask for in compensation will depend on the circumstances of your claim. 

Things you can ask for in your compensatory award include claims for:

  • past losses
  • future losses
  • your loss of statutory rights
  • your employer's failure to follow the Acas code.

Past losses

Past losses refer to money you've lost because of being out of work. They can include:

Loss of earnings

Loss of earnings refers to the money you’ve lost if you are still out of work when you make your claim to the tribunal or the amount of earnings you lost until you found another job. For example, if you had been out of work for three months before you found another job, you could make a claim for three months’ lost salary at the net rate. This is your take-home salary.

You’ll need to show evidence you were looking for a job during the period you’re claiming for. If you can’t prove you were looking for a job you might get less compensation.

If you’re still looking for work when you make the claim you can add the amount of salary you’ve lost for the time you’ve been job-seeking to your schedule.

Other benefits

If you were making other contributions out of your salary, such as pension contributions, you can also make a claim for the amount you would have made had you still been employed.

Job seeking expenses

You can claim for the travel costs of attending Jobcentre Plus or any job interviews. You can also claim for the costs of buying newspapers to find jobs, or postage and stationery costs for sending application letters.

Future losses

If you haven’t managed to find another job by the time you make your claim, you will need to estimate how long you think you will continue to be out of work. This will depend on the type of work that you do and the job situation in your area. You may need to take some advice from your local jobcentre about the average time it takes a worker to find a similar job.

You can then add up the number of months net salary you think you will need to claim before you will find work again.

If your employer didn’t pay you for your notice period

Your employer should normally pay you for your notice period. You can add your notice pay to your schedule of loss - check how much notice pay you should get when you’re dismissed.

Claiming for your loss of statutory rights

If you find another job you will have to work for two years before you have a legal right to make a claim for unfair dismissal. It may be possible to add in an amount for your loss of statutory rights during this period. In this case, it would be fair to ask for a sum of up to £500.

If your employer didn't follow the Acas Code of Practice

If you've been dismissed your employer might not have followed the Acas Code of Practice. The code gives guidelines on the correct process to follow for disciplinary procedures and dismissal. Employers don't have to follow the code, but if they don't, this is likely to count against them in a tribunal.

If your employer has failed to follow the code, it may be appropriate to ask for an uplift of 25 per cent on the value of the claim. So if your claim is worth £20,000 you could ask for an extra £5,000.

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