Employment Law Update – Quick fire October 2020


28 October 2020

Employment tribunal statistics, support for employees suffering domestic abuse and new guidance on the Job Retention Bonus feature in this month's quick fire round-up.

Employment tribunal statistics

The Ministry of Justice has published the quarterly employment tribunal statistics for the period April to June 2020. The figures show an increase in claims brought by a single individual of 18% compared with the same period last year. The outstanding caseload has also increased by 31%, with the number of cases disposed of (completed) decreasing by 21%. The mean age of cases at disposal now stands at
32 weeks. In contrast, multiple claims (brought by two or more people against the same employer) have significantly decreased, by 43% over the same period. The MoJ has suggested that the increase in the number of single claims is due to rising levels of unemployment, and this looks set to continue over
forthcoming months.

Annual compensation figures also released show that the average award in claims for unfair dismissal for 2019/20 was £11,000, with the highest at £119,000. The highest maximum award was for a claim of disability discrimination, at £266,000.

Supporting employees suffering domestic abuse

The CIPD and EHRC have jointly published a new guide for employers on supporting employees who are experiencing domestic abuse.

The guide, Managing and supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse: a guide for employers, recommends employers should put in place a clear domestic
abuse policy to support employees. It suggests a framework of support consisting of the following stages: recognise the problem, respond appropriately to disclosure, provide support and refer to appropriate help.

It recognises that it is not the responsibility of employers to solve the problem of domestic abuse, but the guidance recommends that employers should assist employees in accessing professional support, including providing paid leave to do so when necessary.

The guide also suggests that due to the increased number of people working from home, employers should consider how to maintain support when the usual escape routes or time apart from an abuser are not readily available to the employee.

Job Retention Bonus – new guidance

Plans to introduce a Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per employee brought back from furlough and still in employment on 31 January 2021, were announced by the Chancellor in his economic update of 8 July 2020. HMRC has now published two guidance documents on the new bonus:

 

In addition, a new Treasury Direction sets out the rules applicable to the Job Retention Bonus.

To be eligible to claim the bonus, employers must have previously furloughed the employee and made a claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Employers can still claim if they have made a claim for the employee under the new Job Support Scheme ( from 1 November 2020).

An employee in respect of which the bonus is claimed must be continuously employed until 31 January 2021, and not serving a contractual or statutory notice period. The employee must have been paid at least the minimum income threshold of £1,560 (gross) per month. The minimum income threshold guidance provides further guidance and examples of how to calculate the minimum income.

Employers may also be able to claim in respect of employees transferred to them under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, provided the employees transfer before 31 October 2020.

Claims for the bonus must be made between 15 February and 31 March 2021, via an online claim service. The guidance states that employers are not required to pay the bonus to the employee. Payments received under the scheme must be treated as income for tax purposes.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at October 2020.