Fallout from Covid-19: Employment tribunal claims are on the rise

The work environment has received a seismic blow as the UK and the rest of the world have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. The political measures put in place to deal with the pandemic have had a dramatic effect on the economy and the employment landscape. Jas Dubb, an Associate solicitor in the Employment Team at The Wilkes Partnership, looks at one aspect of fallout from Covid-19: employment tribunal claims are on the rise.

Jas says: “Data recently published for the Employment Tribunal Service (ETS) gives us an insight into how the economy has reacted over the past year. The figures show that claims to the ETS rose to above pre COVID-19 levels, suggesting this is due to an increase in unemployment and changes to working conditions and practices during the pandemic”.

Quarterly figures

The HM Courts and Tribunal Services has released its quarter three figures (Q3) for the period October to December 2020, which includes figures for the ETS.

The statistics are grouped and measured using the following:

  • Single Claims: track claims which have been registered and cite only one judicial complaint
  • Multiple Claims: track claims that have multiple judicial claims and/or multiple claims against the same employer.
Type of claim Claims registered in Q3 2020 % increase from Q3 2019
Single Claims 13,200 claims received 25% increase
Multiple Claims 29,000 claims received 82% increase

Jas continues “This snapshot of where we are today in respect of the Q3 statistics compared to the same time in 2019 shows a significant increase in claims in both Single and Multiple Claims. Although the figures in respect of Multiple Claims may seem alarming at first glance, they should be kept in perspective. Multiple Claims often deal with multiple claims being registered against one single employer, which means that the figures tend to be skewed”.

What the figures reveal

Unsurprisingly, the figures show that there has been a significant increase in the number of claims being registered with the ETS which has had a knock-on effect on the number of claims in the system waiting to be disposed of. The current outstanding caseload for Single Claims is at its highest level, surpassing the peak seen in 2009/10. It currently stands at 44,000 outstanding cases, which means the outstanding caseload for Single Cases rose by approximately 36%.

Even with an increased caseload it is encouraging to see that the ETS has processed 14,000 claims in Q3, which is up by 24% in the same period in 2019. This influx of claims has, however, resulted in an increase in the average time for disposing of claims. For Single Claims, disposal time has increased by 12 weeks to an average of 48 weeks, while disposal for Multiple Claims has seen an increase of 80 weeks to an average of 229 weeks.

Predictions

Jas concludes “With the extension of the furlough scheme to September 2021, it is expected that claims will level off in the immediate to short term. However, the predictions are that the economy will have to undergo some level of correction with the likelihood of increased unemployment, resulting in another increase in claims to the ETS.”

If you are in receipt of an employment tribunal claim, or you are thinking of making a claim against your ex-employer, the Employment Team at Wilkes have the depth of knowledge and experience you need to tackle the situation.

Contact Jas Dubb in the Employment team at The Wilkes Partnership on 0121 710 5929 or at jdubb@wilkes.co.uk for expert legal advice and practical guidance on defending or making an employment claim.

Jas Dubb, Employment Law, The Wilkes Partnership, Birmingham Solicitor
Jas Dubb

Associate Solicitor, Employment