Following the launch of Early Conciliation on 6 April 2014, around 1,000 people a week have contacted the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) with a view to using Early Conciliation to settle a workplace dispute and 98 per cent of those have decided to try the service.
Even though there is an initial one month period for settling a claim, the first case was settled within 24 hours. In addition, 100 employers have contacted Acas to try Early Conciliation.
Early Conciliation follows on from Pre-Claim Conciliation, a similar optional service that Acas used to offer. Pre-Claim Conciliation dealt with around 20,000 cases a year and over three-quarters of these were resolved in a way that did not lead to an Employment Tribunal claim.
For the first month after the launch of Early Conciliation, notifying Acas of a potential claim was optional. For Employment Tribunal claims lodged on or after 6 May 2014, it is a legal requirement, unless an exemption applies, for the claimant to first notify Acas by completing an Early Conciliation notification form. Employment Tribunal claims will not be accepted unless this procedure has been followed and a formal Certificate has been issued by Acas.
If you are an individual thinking about making an Employment Tribunal claim or you are an employer who has been contacted by Acas asking you to engage in Early Conciliation, please contact one of our specialist employment law solicitors who will be able to give you clear, practical advice on your options.