Tough measures to force employers to pay damages awarded against them by employment tribunals have been promised by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.
"I am determined to ensure that employees awarded settlements following a dispute get their dues paid," he said.
"Our (the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) research shows that as many as four employers out of 10 are not paying up, leaving individuals with money owed to them, which is completely unacceptable, especially if they have lost their job."
According to MoJ research undertaken for it by IFF Research:
- Of 93 claimants polled who were awarded less than £500, 26% did not get any payment.
- Of the 497 claimants surveyed who were awarded between £500 and £4,999, 40% did not receive any payment.
- Of the 377 claimants asked who had been awarded more than £5,000, 44% did not receive any payment.
- Overall, 39% of those polled who had been granted awards had not been paid, while 53% had been paid in full.
The research also found that 36% of claimants who had not been paid had tried to enforce the award through a county court, while 40% of unpaid claimants did not know they could do this.
Straw said High Court Enforcement Officers will be given powers to recover awards granted by employment tribunals or in out-of-court settlements.
TUC general Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Rogue employers should no longer be able to avoid punishment for mistreating their staff."
Personnel Today is awaiting response from the MoJ on how the tougher regime would be policed and what penalties may be imposed on employers who don't pay awards in full.
For more see: Staff fail to receive employment tribunal awards.