A new free Early Conciliation service from Acas will provide both business owners and their employees with a way to resolve potential employment disputes without the need to resort to legal action or incur significant costs.
This overview was kindly provided for Company Bug readers by Acas.
Steer clear of tribunal, try talks with Acas
If you’ve heard of Acas in the news it will usually be about a large scale dispute that we’ve been involved, for example, the recent tube strikes. We also prevent or resolve disputes between employers and individuals in their workforce. Disputes can be about a range of issues including, sexual discrimination, unfair dismissal, and pay.
Workplace disputes are stressful and can have a real impact on small businesses. At Acas, we know it’s always better to resolve issues at the earliest possible stage, ideally in the workplace itself. But there are times when a dispute can’t be resolved from the inside – and that can potentially lead to a tribunal claim being made.
New free service – Early Conciliation, save time & money
From 6th April, anyone wanting to make a tribunal claim will first need to send a simple free online form to Acas and we’ll get in touch to offer Early Conciliation. Our aim is try to resolve a dispute quickly without the need for any legal action or costs. This will save employers and employees the stress and anxiety of facing an employment tribunal.
Most of all we never take sides and anything we’re told never goes beyond our own four walls. Our expert conciliators won’t make judgements – they are simply there to find a way forward.
We’ll contact the person making the claim within a working day to clarify any details and explain the process. If both the Claimant and Employer agree we’ll have up to a whole calendar month to see if the conciliator can help resolve the issue. If a resolution can’t be agreed then a tribunal claim can still be made and help from Acas will remain available throughout the period leading up to a hearing.
Early Conciliation builds on the success of a similar voluntary Acas service called Pre Claim Conciliation (PCC). In 2012/13 PCC helped resolve over 22,000 workplace disputes (75% of cases), saving employers and employees the time, stress and expense of preparing for and attending a tribunal.
More free services
Whether you’re an employer or an employee you can get free advice by calling the Acas Helpline 0300 123 1100 or by visiting www.acas.org.uk for a range of free downloadable guides and access to additional services.