ACAS Early Conciliation Procedures & Processes for Employers – Advice & Support Service

In May 2004 the government made it a requirement that all claims submitted for an employment tribunal must go through ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service. The ACAS early conciliation procedure provides an opportunity for early conciliation settlements and a way for employers to avoid the costly legal fees of going to an employment tribunal. When you get in touch with Avensure for early conciliation advice for employers you can find out how to best use this opportunity to find a suitable resolution for both you and your employee, and you can also find out about any disadvantages of early conciliation that could affect your specific case.

How Does mandatory ACAS early conciliation work

Mandatory ACAS early conciliation means that all employees must submit their case to ACAS through a government website. Once they do this they can speak to ACAS directly about the details of the claim. Here the process will be explained to them and the merits of the claim discussed.

On the part of the employer, nothing happens until ACAS agrees with the employee to take part in the ACAS early conciliation process. If that happens, the employer is contacted by an ACAS conciliator who talks through the issues with the employee or their representative and with the employer or the employer’s representative. Early conciliation aims to try to find a resolution to the dispute between both parties so there is no need to go to an employment tribunal. As an example, an employee who feels they have not been paid correctly for redundancy may turn to ACAS to get a greater payment, rather than going to a tribunal. Avensure’s early conciliation advice for employers can help you understand if their claim is likely to succeed, so you can offer them a greater payment during early conciliation and avoid a tribunal. Contact us today to find out more about our early conciliation services and advice.

Do Employees have to notify ACAS to implement an early conciliation?

ACAS employment law requires that every employee that wants to bring a claim to the employment tribunal must first notify ACAS, with only a few specific exemptions. While an employee must notify ACAS, an employee does not have to agree to early conciliation, nor will ACAS recommend it for every claimant. Statistics show however that 73% of early conciliation notifications received by ACAS will not progress to an employment tribunal. This is either because a resolution was reached or because the claimant dropped the case. This is excellent news for employers, as legal proceedings place a heavy burden on both your finances and your time. With Avensure’s early conciliation support for employers, you can take advantage of the opportunity provided by ACAS and find an early resolution to the dispute with your employee that avoids an employment tribunal. Any questions about early conciliation for employers or need urgent early conciliation help contact Avensure today!

What’s the ACAS early conciliation process?

The process begins when an employee notifies ACAS of their intention to bring a claim to a tribunal. At this point, ACAS and the employee communicate and decide if it is worth attempting early conciliation. In nearly all cases they will advise an employee to try and find an early conciliation solution first. Once the employee has agreed to try for early conciliation settlements, ACAS will get in touch with the employer. After this, you and the employee can try to reach a settlement outside of court, known as a COT3. This is a legally binding contract so it is worth listening to our COT3 advice for employers before agreeing to any settlement.

If you need the ACAS early conciliation process explained further, then get in touch with Avensure. We provide an all-encompassing bespoke employment law service to suit your needs and give you peace of mind with 24/7 early conciliation support for employers from our team, speak to an Avensure early conciliation consultant today!

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Record Number of ACAS Conciliation Notification Claims

The demand for ACAS early conciliation has been rising since the Supreme Court scrapped employment tribunal fees. This has allowed many more employees to bring forward claims, and to avoid overloading the court system the ACAS early conciliation process was brought in. Across the country, ACAS receives over 2,500 notifications a week. Of the notifications that progress to a claim, an ACAS settlement agreement – COT3 – or informal settlement agreement was reached in 73% of cases. Of the cases that progress to an Employment Tribunal, only 18% were withdrawn by the claimant. With Avensure’s early conciliation service for employers, you will have excellent advice to help you take advantage of the ACAS early conciliation process to find a solution beneficial to both you and your employee. Contact Avensure to find out more about our ACAS conciliation service and speak to a highly knowledgeable early conciliation specialist today.

Quick ACAS Early Conciliation Guide for Employers

Employee & Employer Have No Obligation to Talk

Just because it is mandatory for employees to inform ACAS about their intention to bring a claim it does not mean they are required to try and gain an ACAS settlement agreement. COT3 agreements are generally the desired outcome for an employer, but not in every case. If an employee is bringing a frivolous claim against you, you may wish to refuse the ACAS process, just as an employee may refuse to try and find a settlement with you.

Employees Making Multiple ACAS Conciliation Claims

If employees are making multiple ACAS claims, such as in the case if they are bringing equality complaints against an employer who has advanced a statutory defence, they will need to present separate early conciliation forms for each respondent who they hold responsible.

As An Employer, You Get Your Say in the Early Conciliation Process

When looking for early conciliation support for employers you may feel like you need to offer a settlement if contacted by ACAS, but this is not the case. The ACAS conciliator does not advise parties to accept any solutions nor impose their own judgements on the situation.

ACAS Early Conciliation Isn’t Just for Employees

While ACAS has allowed employees to bring a greater number of conciliation settlements claims against employers, it also helps employers. Employers can try to find where they are concerned that a dispute or issue in the workplace is likely to result in Employment Tribunal proceedings going forward. Avensure’s early conciliation advice for employers can help you decide if this is something you wish to pursue.

How Long Does the ACAS Early Conciliation Process Take

With the right early conciliation support for employers, most early conciliation cases will take up to a month. As of December 2020, the time limit for early conciliation was set at six weeks to allow greater time for ACAS to contact claimants about missing information.

COT3 Agreements & Settlements

A formal settlement agreement reached through ACAS is called a COT3. This is a contract between employer and employee that sets out the agreed terms and time frame for any payments. As it is legally binding, our COT3 advice for employers is vital so you can understand your obligations in the contract.

Are You Worried About Employee ACAS Early Conciliation Claims? Contact Avensure Today

If you have just received notification from ACAS that an employee would like to enter into early conciliation, or you feel that the disadvantages of early conciliation outweigh the benefits then contact Avensure today. We are specialists in employment law, offering a unique outsourced HR solution for your company so that you can take advantage of our knowledge and experience, without the cost of hiring a dedicated HR team. Our early conciliation service for employers gives you a personalised service, with one of our lawyers looking over the merits of the case and helping you to find a suitable solution for both you and the claimant. On top of that, we are available 24/7 for early conciliation, employment tribunal or COT3 advice for employers.

ACAS Early Conciliation Service for Employers FAQs

Yes, an employer can suggest that both parties look at the ACAS early conciliation process if they feel there is a dispute which could end in an Employment Tribunal. An employer must first have the employee’s permission to contact ACAS. If they do, they can then contact ACAS with the details of both the employer’s and employee’s representatives. After this, an early conciliation agreement is sought just as if the employee had begun the process themselves. Again, there is no obligation for the employee or employer to accept any agreement during this process.

Once the ACAS early conciliation process has begun, a period of six weeks is allocated. Previously this was set as one calendar month, with the option to extend the process by an additional 14 days. This was changed in December 2020, partly to standardise the proceedings and partly as cases were often taking longer than one month to resolve. Should the ACAS procedure fail to result in an agreement then a claimant has one calendar month to take the dispute to an Employment Tribunal.

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