The employment tribunal deals with a range of claims that include discrimination, unfair dismissal and unfair payroll deductions. On April 6 of this year, new rules took effect to minimise employment tribunal claims. Instead of directly taking a certain case against an employer to the tribunal, an employee will need to notify the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) first. Such notification should be done voluntarily by the employee for one month. However, this becomes mandatory from May 6. Below is a guide to the changes made.
What is Changing
Previously, a notification of a claim was sent to Acas after the issue of the tribunal proceedings. However, today employees should get in touch with Acas before claims will be lodged at the tribunal. The complaining employee will have the freedom to lodge his claim after getting a conciliation certificate from Acas.
How the Process Work
Contacting Acas about a claim can be done through its website. The employee should make the notification within the regular time to bring a claim which is three months less a day for cases like unjust dismissal. Then, Acas will try to contact the part by telephone the following day to check given information, know the nature of the claim and explain the process of early conciliation. Sometimes, a call from an Acas conciliator will be obtained to get consent for approaching the employer in trying to get the case settled.
When the employee refuses to give consent or the employer cannot be contacted or the employer refuses to take part in the process, Acas will close the case and will issue a conciliation certificate. The employee can then lodge his claim. Following the initial contact with Acas, the time limit to make a tribunal claim is paused to a maximum of one month and additional 14 days when conciliation requires more time. This enables enough time to resolve the employer-employee dispute assuming that both parties are willing to do so. During this time, when the case is not settled, the early conciliation will be closed by Acas.
Impact of Early Conciliation on the Process
The entire process` voluntary nature, no change takes place at all aside from the fact that contacting Acas before lodging a claim is mandatory. For Acas, early conciliation allows parties to resolve the issues at the outset and save the stress as well as the costs. This can be the scenario; however, 4-6 weeks is just short for settling more complicated cases. A number of employers are likely to be hesitant to settle without actually knowing whether their employee is ready to issue a claim.
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Author Bio: James is a well known author who writes about business related topics. His articles on payroll issues got much attention from readers.