Breaching Employees’ Rights May Incur Additional Financial Penalties for Employers

Jo Swinson (Minister for Employment Relations) has “tweeted” that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will now implement section 16 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, despite previously stating that it had no intention of doing so.

Section 16 enables Tribunals to order that employers pay a penalty to the Secretary of State where employees’ rights have been breached, and the breach has one or more aggravating features. The penalty is 50% of any award received by the employee, though there is a £100 minimum and a cap of £5000. If the employee brings two or more claims, then they will be treated as a single claim by the legislation. Any penalty is halved if the penalty is paid within 21 days of notice of the decision to impose the penalty being sent to the employer.

According to Ms Swinson’s tweet, S16 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 will be implemented in April 2014.