New figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) reveal a sharp rise in multiple cases brought to employment tribunals coupled with an increase in disputes centred on working time and age discrimination.

Between October to December 2020, single claims increased by 25% compared with the same period in 2019, but there was an 82% rise in multiple cases with 29,000 claims being received.

Employment tribunals totalled 14,000 claims during October to December 2020, a 24% increase on the same period in 2019. This was due to a 66% increase in multiple claim disposals (to 6,700).

The figures also showed that working time claims replaced unfair dismissal as the most common claim.

According to the MoJ, the rising number of employment tribunal cases was the result of the increase in unemployment and altered working conditions, brought on by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has projected that an even steeper rise in cases may occur when furlough ends in September 2021.

Alison Gill, Head of HR at advo comments: “Employee legislation is constantly changing and it can be daunting for many businesses to keep on track. Over the last six months, we have seen a surge in employers looking for expert HR advice to deal with employment issues that are escalating towards a tribunal. We ensure employers are always legally up-to-date and ready to meet any challenge.

“advo provides employers with tailored, compliant and pragmatic advice from experienced, highly qualified HR Consultants. Services include support and advice across employee relations issues; bespoke handbook and contract reviews; regular site visits; management coaching and training; employee benefits reviews and recommendations; payroll processing with online payslips, legislation updates and easy-to-use holiday and sickness reporting via advo-one.

“Providing all the protection and advantages of having an in-house HR team, we ensure compliance with legislation, while supporting and advising SMEs to promote best employment practice and improved employee well-being.”

Since 1997, advo has focused on quality of service and advice and has grown to be one of the UK’s largest independently owned advisory firms, providing all-encompassing services to support employers, throughout the employee lifecycle.  With Payroll, HR and Employee benefits, advo delivers all the essential employee support services.

advo has put together some tips to help SMEs avoid litigation:

  • The most effective way of avoiding any litigation, is ensuring that you have company policies and procedures in place. These should be clearly communicated to all employees and talked about, so that everyone is aware of an employer’s expectations and what is and what is not acceptable in the work environment.
  • Unfortunately, when there is a small team and everyone has always worked together closely, SMEs may not appreciate the undoubted value of having written policies in place.
  • The merit of this only becomes apparent when an employee does something that is wholly unacceptable, but states that they didn’t know that this was wrong.
  • The common misconduct cases centre around serious misuse of a company IT system, placing unacceptable posts about your business on social media, failing to notify absence and persistent absence. The lack of written policies can then present significant difficulties if an SME wishes to take action as there is nothing written down and the employee can quite clearly state that they didn’t know.
  • SMEs that have employees who are unclear of what is ‘unacceptable’ behaviour can be a very definite and challenging hurdle to overcome.  Having compliant documents in place will undoubtedly and significantly reduce the risk of a costly claim being successful at an employment tribunal.
  • advo supports SMEs by reviewing, writing and updating contracts of employment, employee handbook and any associated policies for their employees and can also help by communicating these policies through its advo-one portal.

For further information, please visit or telephone 01622 769210.