Risk of Labour 'overwhelming tribunals' with new worker rights

Risk of Labour 'overwhelming tribunals' with new worker rights

20th May 2024

The Times

However, Ben Smith, a senior associate at employment law firm GQ|Littler, said this would “potentially open up a lot of claims” when the system is already suffering from backlogs.

Smith said: “I think the risk is the tribunal is slow, there’s a big backlog, it’s getting better but it’s still slow. So if you’ve got that influx of new cases from people who previously wouldn’t have a claim, I think it will take us back to the very very big backlogs, very slow process for claims, just because there is not the resource, and then it’s a lose-lose.

“What often happens is that employees will drop claims or just won’t bring claims at all because it takes a long time, and then employers with good cases, if they’ve got a good defence, they will feel pressure just to settle just to get it out of the way rather than wait two years.”

He added: “There is little or no further capacity in employment tribunals across the country — a spike in claims would cause even longer backlogs.”

Smith said that while some businesses would find the measures a “shock” there was also an opportunity to “create a more agile workforce with employees more willing to move between jobs if length of service becomes less tied to employment protections”.