The number of employment tribunal claims has risen to its highest level since 2013/2014 according to the Ministry of Justice’s quarterly statistics for the period 1 July to 30 September 2020. Compared to the same quarter in the previous year, single claims increased by 13% to 11,000 and multiple claims increased by 22% to 19,000. The commentary in the publication suggests that the trend is driven by the wider impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges on court resources.
An increase in the outstanding case load has also been reported – meaning that backlogs continue to increase in the tribunal system (five weeks more than in the same quarter the year before). Again, it is suggested that this is due to restrictions which have been put in place as a result of the pandemic and which have led to a reduction in the number of cases being heard. Although hearings are now being conducted remotely to a greater degree and face to face hearings are to be reintroduced to reflect the roadmap out of lockdown.
The report predicts that the rise in employment claims is likely to continue given the shock to the economy following the impact of Covid-19, and could be further accelerated when the furlough scheme ends.
The most common claim dealt with by the tribunals between July and October 2020 was for “unauthorised deductions” which was the same for the year before.