With the Ministry of Justice having released the statistics for January–March 2019, we take a look at employment tribunal numbers for the financial year 2018/19 (April 2018 to March 2019).

Headline statistics — financial year 2018/19

  • In total, employment tribunals accepted 121,075 claims (single and multiple).

  • There were 35,429 single claims made in the financial year. This is a 27% increase on the number of claims brought in the previous financial year (27,916 in 2017/18)

  • With 365 days in the year, 97 single claims were submitted every day (on average).

Top 10 claims for the financial year 2018/19

  1. Working time (49,199 claims)

  2. Equal pay (26,860 claims)

  3. Unauthorised deductions (22,151 claims)

  4. Unfair dismissal (21,251 claims)

  5. Breach of contract (14,022 claims)

  6. Sex discrimination (9,336 claims)

  7. Disability discrimination (6,821 claims)

  8. Redundancy — failure to inform and consult (5,562 claims)

  9. Redundancy pay (5,478 claims)

  10. Race discrimination (3,522 claims)

Other statistics for the financial year 2018/19

  • March 2019 had the highest number of single claims submitted in a single month (3188 claims)

  • April 2018 had the lowest number of single claims submitted in a single month (2643 claims)

  • In five months of the year, over 3000 single claims were received (July 2018: 3036, October 2018: 3015, January 2019: 3136, February 2019: 3181; March 2019: 3188)

  • 26% of claims dealt with in the year were settled via Acas

  • 9% of claims were successful at an employment tribunal hearing.

Q4 statistics analysis (January to March 2019)

  • 9505 single claims were received — this is a 6% increase on the same quarter in 2018

  • The number of outstanding single claims increased by 36% compared to the same quarter in 2018

  • The mean age of single claims when disposed was 33 weeks (a six-week increase from the same quarter in 2018)

  • The most common claim disposed of in this quarter was unauthorised deduction from wages (this was also the case in January–March 2018).

January to March 2019

  • Over 4700 unfair dismissal claims were submitted (4768)

  • Nearly 1700 disability discrimination claims were submitted (1688)

  • 6449 unauthorised deduction from wages claims were submitted (a 50% increase on the previous quarter, Oct–Dec 2018)

  • Over 9800 working time claims were submitted (a 33% increase compared to the same quarter in 2018).

Removal of tribunal fees

With tribunal fees having been removed in July 2017, the statistics for 2018/19 show that single claims increased by more than a quarter when compared to 2017/18. Over 20,000 unfair dismissal claims were made in 2017/18, even though two years’ service is needed before employees become eligible for unfair dismissal protection. This shows that employers continue to be challenged on whether they have a fair reason, have followed a fair procedure and have acted reasonably when making a decision to dismiss.

Working time

The high number of working time claims are affected by over 29,000 claims being submitted in Q1 2018/19, showing that there is likely to be a multiple claim with a significant number of workers alleging their working time rights have been breached.

Equal pay

Equal pay claims continue to be brought by high numbers of shop workers against the major supermarkets, helping to raise this claim to the second most common complaint submitted in the previous year.

Outstanding cases continues to increase

Nearly 100 employees or ex-employees are submitting a claim every day (on average, 2018/19) showing that errors or bad practices, however small, are being challenged through the tribunal system.

The number of outstanding cases waiting to be heard continues to grow, with the mean age of single claims reaching 33 weeks (around eight months) before being disposed. With outstanding cases continuing to grow, the amount of time a claim is waiting before being heard will only increase — leading to further delays, stress and costs for businesses who are preparing to defend a claim at tribunal.

What can employers do?

  • It is crucial to understand when, and how, to make deductions from wages to ensure these are lawful. With fees no longer payable, an employment tribunal claim may be lodged to challenge a deduction that is worth a few pounds and getting this process right can save a significant amount of time and expense in the long run.

  • With redundancy procedures requiring a full selection and consultation process in advance of any dismissal decisions being taken, taking advice on a lawful procedure and the calculation of statutory redundancy payments can help prevent the process being scrutinised by an employment tribunal.

  • All dismissals need to follow a full and proper process, from investigating to considering all the relevant circumstances and mitigation evidence when reaching a decision.

  • When a notification of Early Conciliation is received from Acas, don’t disregard this. This is the first notification that an employment tribunal could be submitted against your business. Our legal team can help explore your options to dispose of this stage — avoiding a lengthy wait before appearing in front of a tribunal.

  • Take advice at an early stage to consider whether a settlement agreement is the best option for the business — for professional advice on dealing with any HR matters, speak to a qualified consultant at Croner on 0844 561 8149.

Face2Face

Face2Face can provide on-site and in-person HR expert advice with clear, impartial and reassuring support to help you to avoid tribunal claims. Areas of expertise include: disciplinary meetings, grievance meetings, HR investigations, appeals and much more. Call 0161 830 2510 for further information.

Last reviewed 27 June 2019