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ACAS Early Conciliation – What Does It Mean?

As of May 2014, ACAS Early Conciliation has become a mandatory requirement. But what exactly does this mean for employers and employees?

Save from a limited number of claims, an individual who wishes to bring a claim at the Employment Tribunal must first contact ACAS; this includes claims for the following disputes:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Discrimination
  • Redundancy payment or disputes over selection procedures
  • Deduction from wages, unpaid notice or holiday pay
  • Right to time off or flexible working
  • Equal pay

Ordinarily, it is for an employee to make contact with ACAS to initiate the process. It is, however, possible for an employer to initiate the process, should they wish to do so - there may well be times which it would be tactically advantageous for an employer to do so. Employers should note, however, that the time for the employee to issue a claim will not be stopped and there will be no extension of time.


What is ACAS Early Conciliation and what steps does an employee need to take?

Firstly, the employee will need to complete the ACAS Early Conciliation notification form which can be accessed online. Employees should considering using the employer’s appeal or grievance procedure, or letting such process runs its course before contacting ACAS, unless by doing so would result in the employee from being ‘out of time’.

Like with civil claims, there are time limits that both employees and employers should be aware of. For the majority of employment tribunal claims, the time limit is three months less one day. This is referred to as the limitation period.

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