Aggravated Breaches

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.

For more help and advice please contact Clover on 01905 824051 or 0121 5160299 or

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