Employers have coughed up more than £83,000 since a new penalty regime for unpaid employment tribunal awards came into force last year.

Responding to a question about the employment tribunals service by Labour peer Lord Beecham (Jeremy Beecham), commercial secretary to the Treasury Baroness Neville-Rolfe confirmed that, since April last year, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued 60 penalty notices as a result of 164 warning notices to employers for failure to comply with employment tribunal orders to pay compensation to applicants.

A BEIS spokesperson said: ‘Failing to pay employment tribunal awards is unacceptable and the government is committed to tackling the issue. That is why last year we introduced penalties for employers who don’t pay claimants what they are owed.’

Penalties of up to £5,000 for non-payment of tribunal awards came into force under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The scheme applies to judgments given on or after 6 April 2016.

Claimants can also use a fast-track scheme, in which a High Court enforcement officer recovers the award on their behalf.

Latest quarterly statistics published by the Ministry of Justice show that there were 31,545 new claims between July and September last year, suggesting that the 2015/16 reversal of the decline in the average number of new claims per quarter will not be a one-off.

In 2012/13 the tribunal received an average 48,000 new claims per quarter, which fell to 26,500 in 2013/14. Tribunal fees of up to £1,200 were introduced in July 2013.