March 6, 2014

Employment e-Brief – ACAS early conciliation scheme

The Employment Tribunals (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2014 comes into force on 6 April 2014.

HOW WILL EARLY CONCILIATION WORK?

Anyone thinking about making an employment tribunal claim will need to contact ACAS first.  ACAS will then offer early conciliation to try and resolve the dispute quickly and cost effectively.

Once ACAS has received a request for early conciliation, they will then phone the Claimant or their representative within one working day.  ACAS will clarify any details of the applications, gather basic information on the dispute itself and explain the process and relevance of early conciliation.  Once this has been done, the case will be passed onto an individual conciliator, who will aim to make contact with both parties within one working day of receiving the case.

The early conciliation period will last for a period of one month.  The period can be extended for up to 14 days where the parties consent to an extension and where the conciliation officer believes there is a reasonable prospect of achieving a settlement before the end of that period.

WHEN WILL AN EARLY CONCILIATION CERTIFICATE BE ISSUED?

Under the new rules a Claimant will only be able to present their case to the employment tribunal once they have received an early conciliation certificate from ACAS.  This will be issued from ACAS where:

  • The conciliation officer believes that it is not possible to settle the dispute during the allocated period of one month;
  • The conciliation officer believes that it is not possible to settle the dispute during any extension period;
  • The one month period expires without settlement being reached;
  • If the conciliation officer is unable to make contact with the prospective claimant or prospective respondent and therefore settlement is not possible.

WHAT TYPE OF ISSUES WILL EARLY CONCILIATION HELP RESOLVE?

Early Conciliation will look to resolve employment tribunal claims with the following issues:

  • Unfair dismissal;
  • Workplace discrimination;
  • Redundancy payments or disputes around procedures;
  • Deductions from wages or unpaid notice/holiday pay;
  • Right to time off or flexible working;
  • Equal pay.

WHAT WILL BE THE KEY BENEFITS OF EARLY CONCILIATION?

It is hoped that this will reduce the number of employment tribunal claims and therefore will result in a massive reduction in costs as this process is completely free.

For more information please contact Bryony Russell or any member of the Employment Law Team.