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The spike in employment tribunal claims over the past three quarters looks set to mark the start of a permanent upward trend in the figures. With the ‘affordability barrier’ now gone, ACAS is receiving around 2,200 notifications every week and there has also been a matching rise in the number of disputes reaching tribunal.

The statistics released by HM Courts & Tribunal Service, for October to December 2017 showed a 90% increase in the number of single claim employment tribunal applications compared with the same quarter in 2016. These figures highlight a greatly increased risk that employees will pursue grievances all the way to tribunal exposing employers to significant legal costs, if they do not have the benefit of commercial legal expenses cover.

emloyment tribunal

HR updates

To add to the pressure on businesses to keep up with the speed of legislative change, a number of new or increased requirements came in from the start of April;

1 April
• Increase to National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

4 April
• Deadline for gender pay gap reporting for both private and voluntary sector employers with at least 250 staff.

6 April
• Taxation of PILONS (pay in lieu of notice) and termination payments - a significant new requirement, making termination pay and payments in lieu of notice taxable.

25 May
• On the 25th May the Data Protection Act 2018 will come into effect significantly strengthening existing data protection rules.

Also in the pipeline is the prospect of draft legislation by July on CEO/worker pay gap reporting. We can expect consultation on extending IR35 rules on off-payroll working into the private sector, to ‘ensure individuals who effectively work as employees are taxed as employees even if they choose to structure their work through a company’.

The Government has said it intends to make it illegal not to pay interns and there will be legislation that requires employers to provide payslips for all workers from day one. Four consultations are open; these deal with agency rights, tribunal enforcement, increasing transparency of the labour market and employment status. The consultations close in June and we can expect the Government to publish and consult about recommendations in the Autumn.