The number of employment tribunals in the UK has increased by 27 per cent in the last year, according to the latest data.
Claims have risen consistently since 2017, with the total number of tribunals rising to 42,399 in 2020, and represents a significant increase in comparison with the previous year when numbers increased by just seven per cent.
Experts believe that the increase can largely be attributed to issues arising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the economy.
Since March 2020 businesses have faced significant challenges, including enforced closure for many for large parts of the year, as well as redundancies, reduction in working hours, furlough, flexible furlough and changing legislation.
Because of the increase in the total number of tribunals over the past year, there is now a backlog of cases that has meant that the average wait time for a claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination is now 38 weeks, while some cases may take even longer.
Delays have been exacerbated by the need to adhere to social distancing guidelines and adapt to virtual hearings, meaning that many cases had to be put on hold, thus increasing the backlog and subsequent wait time for tribunals to be heard.
This can present challenges to employers, as through the current situation and given the number of variables that both the furlough scheme and an increased number of redundancies have introduced, there is a higher probability that employers will be faced with potential tribunal claims.
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