The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now published its latest quarterly update for cases brought to, heard and disposed of before the Employment Tribunal (ET) service.
Key data from these has been summarised below:
Between January and March 2023, 23,000 claims were received by ETs:
- 8,100 of these were single claims (an increase of 5% from this time last year),
- 15,000 were multiple claims (a 39% increase from this time last year).
Between January and March 2023, the type of claims which have increased the most from the same time last year include claims for:
- unauthorised deduction of wages (up 57%)
- redundancy pay (up 55%)
- breach of contract claims (up 49%)
The number of open single claims (currently 37,000) continues to rise. This goes beyond the previous peak levels seen in 2009/10 (when it was 36,000 in quarter two of that year). This is due to the number of cases disposed being consistently lower than the number of cases received by the ET.
What do these figures tell us?
These figures suggest that employees are increasingly willing to go to ET when they feel their rights have been denied. This is especially the case for multiple claims, where a claim is brought by two or more individuals against the same employer and are grouped together due to their similarities, which have risen by 39%.
How long does it take for a claim to be heard by an ET?
In February 2023, in response to parliamentary question, it was disclosed that the average waiting time for a tribunal case to reach a first hearing was 49 weeks; a long time to wait in a potentially distressing situation.
To tackle this, the MoJ has invested nearly £3 million extra to increase the number of days Employment Tribunals can operate, and hired 114 more judges, as well investments in remote hearings to process cases more quickly.
How can claims be avoided?
There are various ways employers can avoid a claim. Two examples are:
- Mediation, either run internally or by a third party, to try and get both sides working together.
- Settling with the employee. Settlement agreements can be where either a dispute has arisen between employer and employee, or where either party wants to bring the relationship to an end. These can be costly, however they can give an employer peace of mind that a claim will not be brought, saving them the time that would have been spent preparing for and attending a hearing.
What you may be missing – Employment Practice Liability
This cover is essential for any employer but you will find that it is not always provided as standard. It will cover your company and your employees against defence costs and awards of employment claims arising, for example:
- from allegations of sexual harassment or wrongful dismissal by employees
- from allegations of incorrect selection for redundancy
Unfair Dismissal – An IT consultancy faced a claim from a former employee who had been made redundant. The
employee claimed he should not have been selected for redundancy as he had taken a salary sacrifice in the last year.
The legal fees in successfully defending the case were more than £8,500.
With claims taking so long to be heard by an ET it is worth noting that 90 days passing no longer means allegations can’t and won’t arise.
Contact us for a quote
Be sure that you discuss what options you have with an experienced professional, before making any final decisions.
We are regularly arranging Employment Practice Insurance for Employers – contact us today for a no obligation quote.
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(Source CIPD HR-Inform)