March 28, 2014

New for 2014: Early Conciliation launching soon

The New Year has brought many changes to employment law and now one of the biggest developments is about to take place… the introduction of Early Conciliation.

From the 6th April 2014, no prospective employee, employee or former employee can bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal without first obtaining, via ACAS,* an Early Conciliation Certificate.

Early Conciliation is a pre Employment Tribunal claim process requiring one of the above catagories of employee to contact ACAS with details of an intended Employment Tribunal claim.

ACAS will then contact the employer and invite them to attempt to settle the dispute via Early Conciliation, before a claim is presented to the Employment Tribunal.

You may receive calls, emails and letters from prospective Employment Law providers suggesting your Employee Handbook needs amendment for Early Conciliation, rest assured it does not.

As the employer you are at liberty to immediately decline Early Conciliation, in which case ACAS will issue the Early Conciliation Certificate and the employee can then issue an Employment Tribunal claim.

If the settlement door is not closed by the employer, ACAS will continue to attempt settlement for one month (or in some cases longer) and then issue the Certificate.  The advantage to early settlement is that the matter is disposed of early and all further time, cost and disruption is avoided.

To get the very best from Early Conciliation, after considering the suggested claim by the employee, employers are best advised to equip themselves with the following :

1. A percentage estimate of prospects for successfully defending the suggested claim

2. A realistic estimate of the potential value of a claim

3. The likely costs of defending the claim

For our retained clients, Moorepay will provide the above (plus negotiation via ACAS) free of charge.

Because Early Conciliation comes before an Employment Tribunal claim is issued, any settlement payment agreed via Early Conciliation cannot be covered by the Moorepay insurance indemnity .  However there are obvious commercial benefits to your business taking advantage of this early settlement opportunity.

Should ACAS contact you about Early Conciliation and you wish to discuss the pros and cons of it, please contact our Employment Tribunal team on 0845 077 8881 option 3 for:

  • free professional guidance on the merits of engaging in  Early Conciliation
  • a percentage estimate of your prospects for successfully defending the claim
  • a realistic estimate of the potential value of a claim
  • where appropriate, the likely costs of defending the claim
  • negotiation via ACAS

*ACAS is the government-funded Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service and one of its roles is to resolve workplace disputes without the need for court or tribunal proceedings.

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About the author

HR Consultancy Team Moorepay