What do the latest quarterly employment tribunal statistics tell us?

Following on from our previous blog, we review the latest quarterly Ministry of Justice employment tribunal statistics (January – March 2021) to see what they tell us and assess whether the landscape has changed.

Number of tribunal claims

  • The number of single claims in the most recent quarter (January to March 2021) decreased by 13% when compared to the same period in 2020 and indicates a tapering off following a large rise reported in the previous quarter.
  • While there has been a decrease in single claims compared with January to March 2020, over the last few quarters there has been an aggregate rise in claims as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on the economic climate, in particular the rise in unemployment and changes to working conditions.
  • The number of multiple claims has increased by 14% when compared to the same period in 2020 (although these figures can be distorted by a high number of claims being made against one employer in relation to a single issue (e.g. holiday pay; equal pay).

Backlog of cases remains high

Despite the increased use of virtual hearings and technology by tribunals, along with their continued efforts to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic, the backlog of cases remains high. The outstanding caseload for the first quarter of 2020/21 stands at 44,000. When compared to the same period in 2020, this represents a 39% increase.

The average time between a single claim being received and it being heard by the employment tribunal has also risen to 43 weeks - five weeks longer compared to January to March 2020.

What can we expect in the coming months?

The Ministry of Justice predicts that claim numbers will continue to rise as the economic impact of the pandemic is felt and also as a consequence of the furlough scheme closing at the end of September.

It's likely that claims involving redundancy, changes to terms and conditions and contractual pay and benefits will be prevalent. We are also likely to see cases arising from COVID-related issues such as health and safety at work.

Please get in touch with a member of the employment and immigration team to discuss anything raised in this blog. Practical guidance on Tribunal Claims and ACAS Early Conciliation is also available on Workbox by Brodies, our award-winning online HR and employment law resource.