Aggravated Breach Compensation Rises to a Maximum of £20,000 from £5,000 section 16 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, introducing section 12A into the Employment Tribunals Act 1996.
What is an Aggravated Breach?
An Aggravated breach is a legal term used when an employee makes a claim against an employer for failing to carry out its legal duty. It often relates to a deliberate breach or repeated series of breaches carried out in a malicious way. Examples could include:
- National Minimum/Living Wage being withheld;
- Holiday Pay being withheld;
- Sick Pay being withheld;
- Where there is a tied property to the job;
- Withholding travel documents to keep a worker from leaving;
- Creating a loan structure that keeps a worker indebted to the company so that they cannot leave;
Thankfully, the number of cases are low where such damages are awarded because of the weight placed on the fact that this has been a malicious or deliberate act.
Whilst a definition for aggravated features has not been legally established, the Employment Tribunal will consider the following things related to the employer and its actions towards an employee.
- The company’s size and behaviour;
- The duration of the breach;
- The HR resources available to the employer.
The tribunal will be interested to know whether the respondent employer’s actions were:
- deliberate; or
- malicious; and
- whether or not the employee’s rights were breached repeatedly.
The increase in penalties that can be awarded was effective from 6th April 2019.
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