The head of the service that will provide free support to help employers and employees resolve employment disputes more quickly has been highlighting the benefits it offers.
From 6 April 2014, anyone considering making an employment tribunal claim about a workplace issue – such as an unfair dismissal claim, redundancy payments or issues around equal pay or rights to flexible working – will first need to notify employment relations service Acas.
Acas will then offer them a free service called Early Conciliation, which involves the employee completing a form on the Acas website and a conciliator then making contact with both parties with the aim of trying to resolve the dispute quickly.
Acas chief executive Anne Sharp said: “The earlier you can get people talking, the more chance there is of success.
“Acas will…act as a kind of broker to help the two sides come to some sort of agreement. This may mean that the claim does not progress to tribunal, which could save both parties time and money. All conversations are conducted on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, so nothing said during this process can be used later on in a tribunal.”
If Early Conciliation fails to resolve the dispute, the claimant will then be able to lodge an employment tribunal claim.