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29th September 2023
The latest quarterly statistics for April to June 2023 (“Q1”) show that:
Statistics for representation in claims
The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a large amount of people claiming Universal Credit and the employment rate decreasing and therefore compensation levels being awarded by the Tribunal are going one way – upwards.
Given the constricted job market at present, claimants are likely to find securing alternative employment difficult, together with also having difficulties securing a similar remuneration package as they may have held previously, resulting in individuals potentially being out of work longer which has also been impacted by the current ongoing cost of living crisis.
In addition, the compensation awarded for injury to feelings continues to increase in line with the rate of inflation increasing. The increase in the compensation that can be awarded means there is a financial risk to employers defending cases in the employment tribunal.
Protection from Sexual Harassment Bill
On 18 September 2023, the Protection from Sex-based harassment in Public Bill received Royal Assent.
This will amend the Public Order Act 1986 to introduce a new criminal offence of intentional sexual harassment, alarm or distress carried out because of a person’s sex, or presumed sex. The substantive provisions of the Act will come into force on a day appointed in a statutory instrument made by the Secretary of State.
The Bill sends a strong message that public sexual harassment is not acceptable by introducing tougher sentences or certain types of harassment. The passing of this Bill follows a three-year campaign to criminalise public sexual harassment.
Right to predictable working hours
The Government have announced that it is supporting the Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Bill that would give temporary and agency workers the right to request more predictable hours.
Workers who have been employed by the same employer at some point during the month immediately preceding a ‘prescribed period’ (this will be set out in the regulations but is estimated to be 26 weeks) ending with the request will be able to make a request. Therefore, a temporary or agency worker will need 6 months’ service before any request is made. A maximum of 2 applications can be made in any 12-month period and any such applications must specify the change being applied and the date it is to take effect.
Employers will be required to deal with any requests in a reasonable manner and notify the worker / agency worker of the decision within one month and requests may be refused on any of the specified grounds which are currently listed within the Act; The Secretary of State reserves the right to add more grounds.
Where terms have been granted, they must be offered within two weeks and employers cannot make detrimental changes to other contractual terms at the same time as making the changes required following approval of the request for predictability.
The right will apply to the following:
ACAS will also be producing a draft Code of Practice for consultation in Autumn which will provide guidance on how to handle requests for predictable working hours.