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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you are interested in finding out more about how we can empower your business to make better people decisions?