Taylor Review: Naming and shaming scheme for unpaid employment tribunal awards

Brexit seems to have gotten in the way of much that needed doing on the UK domestic agenda, particularly putting into place or dealing with Mathew Taylor’s recommendations is his 2017 “Review of Modern Working Practices”.  However the government has made progress with this, albeit that it may not have been reported. 

So, as initiatives continue to come out of this, we would like to look at one announced in December 2018.  The 2017 Review talked of “widespread concerns about the number of employment tribunal awards that go unpaid”.  This was all under the topic of where the individual takes their employment status claim to a tribunal and they are successful against their employer in proving employment (rather than self-employment or another employment status).  Whilst the tribunal might make an award and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have enforcement powers, the award still might not end up getting to the individual. 

A recommendation was that:

“Government should establish a naming and shaming scheme for those employers who do not pay employment tribunal awards within a reasonable time. This could perhaps be an element of the reporting which we have suggested in relation to the composition of the workforce including the proportion of atypical workers in the workforce”

On the 17th of December 2018, BEIS announced a penalty enforcement and naming scheme whereby if an award is not made by the employer, the individual can complete a form and ask to have them fined and named publicly.  But they must register with the free naming and the financial penalty schemes for their employer to be eligible for naming and shaming.

BEIS also published guidance for employers about the policy:

  • It applies to tribunal awards of £200 or more, which have been registered with BEIS on or after 18 December 2018 but not Acas conciliated settlements
  • A BEIS enforcement officer will verify the claim and send a warning letter to the employer giving them 28 days to pay
  • If not, a penalty notice may be issued ordering them to pay a penalty to the value of 50% of the original award amount and 8% interest per annum


Global Payroll Association Comment 

Employers are advised to look at the BEIS guidance and consider the reputational damage that naming and shaming brings – just like the one for National Minimum Wage underpayment on which this is structured. 

Also consider the jurisdiction this applies in.  BEIS, employment tribunals and Acas apply in Great Britain only and we are not aware of any similar scheme in Northern Ireland (where none of these are relevant).