New rules to the ACAS Early Conciliation process

ACAS is a publicly funded independent organisation that promotes good employment relations and helps sort out employment disputes.

Since 2014, before a claim can be presented to the Employment Tribunal, a Claimant must first seek to conciliate matters through ACAS to see if the matter can be resolved, after all, reaching a settlement through conciliation is quicker, cheaper and less stressful for all concerned than a tribunal case. This is known as Early Conciliation (“EC”). At the end of EC, ACAS will issue a Certificate with a number on it. That number is required to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim.

Although a person may seek to end the EC process straight away and be issued with a certificate, for those who wished to explore a resolution through the EC process, they would be provided with a period of 4 weeks to resolve the dispute, with the option of extending the process by a further 2 weeks if necessary.

From 01 December 2020 however, the EC process will now last 6 weeks under The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. The ability to extend the EC period by a further 2 weeks has now been removed.

It remains to be seen whether the new rule will result in more claims being settled during the EC stage before matters reach the Employment Tribunal.

For further information, please visit the ACAS website here.