Employment Tribunal Statistics remain stable…but for how long?

Recent statistics produced by the Ministry of Justice showed that the number of claims to the Employment Tribunal between the period April to June 2017 has increased.

From April to June there were 4,241 single claims logged, this shows a 2% increase on the same period of 2016.

88,476 cases were accepted by the tribunal service over the year to June 2017. 17,005 of these counted for single cases and 71,471 counted as multiple claims. This shows an increase in the total claim numbers by 6% in comparison to 2015/16.

Although the number of claims logged has been suggested as being stable, this is likely to change after the Supreme Court found that tribunal fees were unlawful. This is because employees will now feel more inclined to bring a claim forward with the removal of the barrier of costly fees.

Between April and June, there was 9,518 multiple claims received. This shows a decrease of 19% during the same period in 2016.

The research published by the Ministry of Justice identified that the maximum compensation award during 2016/17 was in an unfair dismissal claim which saw £1.7m paid out.

Throughout the year to June 2017, over 30,000 cases were brought under the Working Time Directive, 12,038 for unfair dismissal and 10,467 for equal pay.

In the same time frame 86% of claimants had legal representation and 9% represented themselves.

Cases heard in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2016/17 fell by 8% in comparison to the year 2015/16. The number of claims thrown out by the EAT decreased by 14% over the same time period.

Following the ruling made by the Supreme Court, the Government announced it would take steps to put an end to fees and organise refunds to all who have previously paid fees – this pay-out has been estimated to cost the Government £32m.

Xpert HR’s employment law editor, Stephen Simpson states: “It is anticipated that the abolition of employment tribunal fees in July of this year will lead to a sharp rise in claims. What we don’t know is whether the removal of the fees barrier will mean an immediate return to pre-July 2013 claim levels. Or will the increase be more modest or gradual?

“The latest statistics only cover the period up to June 2017, so don’t shed any light on this. However, employers and employment lawyers will be eagerly awaiting the next round of quarterly tribunal figures, covering July to September 2017. They are scheduled for publication on 14 December and should provide an indication of the initial impact of the removal of fees on claim levels.”

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Scottish Labour Party has called for a maximum of 48 hours in a working week!

Scottish Labour Party have called for a maximum of 48 hours in a working week – Is this good or bad?

As part of Scottish Labours new Industrial Strategy, Kezia Dugdale has sought support for a complete ban on employees engaging in more than 48 hours in one working week.

The Scottish Conservative Party have responded to this arguing that no one has the right to “dictate” how many hours individuals should work.

Within the proposals, the Scottish Labour Party argue that powers over employment and health and safety legislation following Brexit could be used to overturn the UK’s opt out of the Working Time Directive which is EU derived and limits the working week to 48 hours.

They have suggested that these proposals will boost productivity in the workplace and that NHS workers will gain the most benefits from it.

In reference to the 250,000 Scottish workers who currently work more than 48 hours a week, the proposals state: “Too many people experience long working hours, job monotony, management by stress and over work.”

Kezia Dugdale who is the leader of the Scottish Labour Party adds further that the Government ought to “consider ending current opt-outs which fail to deliver on our ambition for an inclusive economy.”

The proposals made by Scottish Labour have been slammed and criticized that in the event that working hours are slashed, those who are on low paid wages and who work under a self-employed status will be hit the hardest.

Dean Lockhart, who is the Shadow Secretary for the Scottish Conservatives states “no-one should be forced to work those kinds of hours if they don’t want to or simply can’t.”

“However, many people – particularly those running their own business – do want to, and will be appalled at the idea of Labour trying to tell them what to do.”

“In addition, others may need the cash working those hours bring, for a variety of reasons. Labour simply do not have the right to dictate to those people what hours they should and shouldn’t be working. These restrictions have been tried elsewhere and they’ve should to damage the economy.”

The Working Time Directive

As it stands, the Working Time Directive/ Working Time Regulations ensures that employees cannot be made to work more than 48 hours a week on average.

In addition, the Working Time Directive regulates patterns of work and holidays as well as rest periods on a daily/weekly basis.

Further, the Working Time Directive ensures the health and working hours of shift workers is covered within the regulations.

For general workers, the Working Time Directive administers the right to:

– A limit of 48 hours a week on average

– Paid holidays of 5.6 weeks annually

– In any 24-hour period, a worker must be given a rest break of at least 11 hours

– 20-minute break if the employee is working more than six hours in one day

Exceptions to the rule

There are some exceptions to this rule. The law states that you may have to work more than 48 hours on average a week if you work in a job:

– Where 24-hour staffing is required

– In the armed forces, emergency services or police

– In security or surveillance

– As a domestic servant in a private household

– Where working time is not measured and you are in control, E.G. Managing Directors with control over decisions. (Sourced from Direct Gov)


Individuals do have the opportunity to work more than 48 hours a week, this is otherwise known as ‘opting out’.

An employer may request from an employee that they choose to opt out, however, they cannot terminate their employment or treat them unfairly should the employee refuse.

If the employee does not belong to one of the groups of workers who are prohibited from opting out, they may make the decision to exclude themselves from the Working Time Regulations. For example, they are required to work on a major project that depends on them working overtime to meet the deadline, they can choose to opt-out for this period of time.

Who can’t opt-out?

– Anyone under 18 years old

– Anyone who is responsible for operating ships or boats, airlines and heavy load vehicles

How Employment Law Services (ELS) Can Help Employers

Employers concerned about their legal obligations and general compliance with UK employment law can take advantage of Employment Law Services (ELS) free consultation – contact us today to arrange your free consultation.