The Employment Tribunal have published their quarterly statistics for July to September 2020 and it is clear that there has been an increase in employment claims being submitted.
Read about what types of claims have risen, here.
What Do the Statistics Reveal?
Single claim (a single employee/worker brings a claim) receipts have increased by 13% compared to this time last year, the single claim outstanding caseload has increased by 22% and the disposal of single claims decreased by 7%.
Multiple claim (claims brought by more than one employee/worker) receipts have increased by 24% compared to this time last year, the multiple claim outstanding caseload increased by 11% and the disposal of these claims decreased by 61%.
So, it is apparent that Tribunal receipts continue to be driven by the wider impact of Covid-19 on the economy and the challenges placed on Tribunal resources (adhering to social distancing, adapting to virtual hearings, etc.) has led to the highest level of single Employment Tribunal claim receipts since 2013/14.
The Tribunal have anticipated that the increase in single claim receipts will continue and accelerate when the furlough scheme ends.
Is Unemployment on the Rise?
At present the unemployment rates in the UK have risen and are expected to continue to rise. The unemployment rate rose to 5% (1.7 million) by the end of November, the Office for Budget Responsibility has said that the UK unemployment is likely to reach 7.5% (2.6 million) by the middle of this year.
Many businesses have had to either make a number of staff redundant or change the way their employees work during the pandemic.
The average wait time for a single claim is 39 weeks. This means if an employee/worker submits a claim this month, on average, their claim will not be heard until October 2021.
The rise in claims and a backlog as a result comes as no surprise, due to the cyclical nature of employment tribunal claims, they drop when the economy is doing well and increase when we suffer a period of economic uncertainty.
What Does the Future Hold?
We are currently in a period of economic uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic. This means that we are seeing an increase in claims being brought because of an increase in redundancies and claims relating to health and safety, which were previously a very rare claim to bring.
In addition to this, many businesses are not in the same financial position that they were in prior to coronavirus, meaning those who previously would have settled a claim are now no longer in a position to offer settlement as an option.
It is important that managers ensure that they follow a fair process to limit the chance of claims being brought against businesses. If you are unsure on how to proceed with any employment issues, please contact us.