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What can we learn from the latest employment tribunal statistics?

What can we learn from the latest employment tribunal statistics?
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

The latest employment tribunal (ET) statistics have been released, covering April to June 2023, and they show around a 17% increase in the total number of claims, when compared to the same period last year.

The biggest increase was a massive 186% rise in claims for failure to provide a written statement of main terms. For employees and workers starting work on or after 6 April 2020, legislation states that a statement of main terms must be given no later than the beginning of employment.

But if this isn’t issued in time, is there anything that an employer can do? As long as the statement is given before a claim is actually brought by the employee or worker, then this could solve the problem. This is because employees and workers are only entitled to compensation if ‘at the time the claim was brought’, they have not been provided with a statement of main terms.

There could be a strange situation, therefore, where an employee is given notice of termination and at the same time given a statement of main terms because it has not already been issued. The key is that it needs to have been given before the claim is lodged with the ET.

The claim for failure to provide a statement of main terms cannot be brought alone, instead it can only be lodged with the ET if the claimant also brings another substantive claim, for example, an unfair dismissal claim. If the claim is brought and the statement has not been given by that point, then the ET may award compensation of either two weeks or four weeks’ pay.

Obviously, the best way will always be to issue it before the beginning of employment, so it is done and dusted. Employers should also not forget to make sure that they keep a copy on file so that they can evidence that it has been issued as well as what the specific terms are.

Following recent analysis of the ET statistics it has also been found that there were 50% more cases in 2022 which cited remote working, compared to 2021. With cases where remote working is a factor on the increase it is important that if employers allow employees to work remotely this way of working is managed appropriately. Workplace policies, procedures, and practices need to be reviewed and potentially adapted so that the organisation is inclusive and fair even when managers are not physically in the same room as their team members.

Another area where remote working could feature in ET claims is when an organisation wants employees back in the office. There may be many differing opinions so it can consequently be a difficult situation for employers to navigate. Before making any decisions, which changes where an employee works, the first point for employers to consider will be their employee’s terms and conditions of employment. If an employer wants to change where employees work which alters their terms, they will need to consult with them first. If a company ploughs ahead without consulting when the proposal is still at a formative stage, this is where a company is opening themselves up to potential tribunal claims. So, ensuring a correct procedure is followed will be key.

When an ET claim is brought, the company’s time, money and resources is often ploughed into defending such claims. Taking steps to prevent matters escalating is the best course of action. 

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