ACAS early conciliation has been available since April 2014 and became mandatory on 6 May 2014. The scheme was introduced to encourage settlement before an Employment Tribunal claim is raised.
Under the scheme, prospective claimants now need to contact ACAS prior to submitting an Employment Tribunal claim form in most cases. ACAS can be contacted by telephone or by the prospective claimant submitting the completed early conciliation form online or by post.
During early conciliation, ACAS will attempt to facilitate settlement within an initial timeframe of one month. An additional 14 days can be granted if the parties consent and if the ACAS conciliation officer believes that settlement is likely.
Whilst ACAS early conciliation is ongoing, the clock is paused on the prospective claimant’s time limit for raising an Employment Tribunal claim. If settlement is not possible or the conciliation officer has been unable to contact the parties, the prospective claimant will be issued with an early conciliation certificate which will contain a unique reference number enabling them to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim.
See other 2014 Key Development in Employment Law - here