A report from Citizen Advice (March 2016) commented on the rise in unpaid wages cases, prompting concerns about an emerging trend of “wage theft” where people are not getting paid in full for the work they do. In addition, the removal of Employment Tribunal fees saw a significant increase in unpaid wages cases, - increasing from 549 in July 2017 to 2,926 in August 2017.
In response to these trends LawWorks (and also linking our pro bono practice with emerging policy issues), is launching a new unpaid wages project. The project will support the training and supervision of volunteer lawyers to enable them to take on unpaid wages cases from the start to completion of the matter, including representation and advocacy at the tribunal stage.
In managing these cases, the volunteer lawyers will be supported and actively supervised by an experienced in-house employment lawyer at LawWorks. LawWorks will also liaise with organisations, such as law centres and Citizens Advice services, at the referral stage to ensure that only eligible and appropriate cases are taken on under the project.
LawWorks will collate relevant papers, liaise with clients and allocate cases to volunteer lawyers. The lawyers are encouraged to work in pairs - to incorporate peer support, and ensuring that clients receive seamless high quality casework support and representation.