New employment dispute conciliation scheme comes into force
Problems at work can be very stressful and you might feel alone in your struggle.
Getting help and seeking advice early can save a lot of heartache, but your situation might reach a point where you feel you want to bring an employment tribunal claim against your employer.
Before you do, you need to know about the Early Conciliation (EC) scheme and how it affects you.
What is the Early Conciliation (EC) scheme?
The new scheme means you must first contact ACAS to see whether the dispute can be resolved through conciliation. This allows you to settle workplace disputes without going through the full formal tribunal process.
You first notify ACAS of your situation by completing a simple Early Conciliation Notification Form. You’ll be contacted quickly by ACAS so they can gather some basic information about your case.
A conciliator will contact both parties, talk through the issues and see if a solution can be found.
You can also learn more about conciliation here.
When did it come into force?
The EC scheme came into force on 6th April 2014 for a transitional month. During this time parties could undertake EC if they wished, but were not obliged to.
However, from 6th May a potential claimant must contact ACAS before presenting most employment tribunal claims.
The scheme’s initial success
Since the launch of the EC scheme in April, around 1,000 people per week have contacted ACAS about early conciliation.
They also had 100 employers contact them about EC during the transitional month.
After this initial contact, 98 per cent of those who contacted ACAS decided to try out the service and the first case was settled within 24 hours.
Get help and advice early
Daniel Zakis, one of the employment lawyers at Wallace Robinson & Morgan said, “If you have an employment dispute it is essential that you take legal advice at an early stage to ensure the correct procedures and decisions are made.