ACAS Report 2008/2009 - Expert Comments

David Reid
5th Aug 2009

ACAS has recently published its Annual Report for the year ending 31 March 2009. There are a number of important findings contained within the report relating to ACAS’ core activities.

While it is fairly likely that there may have been a number of “repeat callers” to the helpline, the total number of calls is significant as it shows that employees and employers are taking advice in relation to employment issues and disputes as they arise.

Below we produce two tables from the report, which have been taken from pages 46 and 40 of the report, respectively.

Advice and Guidance through the ACAS Helpline

 

Main topics called about in 2008/09 Percentage of calls relating at least partly to this topic
Redundancies, lay-offs and business transfers 28%
Discipline, dismissal and grievance 27%
Contracts 17%
Holiday and working time 12%
Absences, sickness and stress 9%
Wages and National Minimum Wage (NMW) 8%
Maternity, paternity and adoption 8%
Diversity and discrimination 3%
Family friendly policies 2%
Others 6%


Individual Disputes (excluding NHS and Local Authority Equal Pay Claims)

 

Main cause of complaint conciliated 2008/2009
  No %
Unfair Dismissal 38,745 49.3
Wages Act 10,225 13.0
Breach of Contract 5,584 7.1
Redundancy Pay 3,517 4.5
Sex Discrimination 4,221 5.4
Race Discrimination 3,009 3.8
Disability Discrimination 3,941 5.0
Working Time 2,296 2.9
Equal Pay 572 0.7
National Minimum Wage (NMW) 81 0.1
Flexible Working 58 0.1
Age Discrimination 1,672 2.1
Other 4,749 6.0
Total 78,670  


It has been said that there are “lies, damned lies and statistics” - (Benjamin Disraeli/ later popularised by Mark Twain).

While recognising that statistics are not infallible, and are open to interpretation, it nonetheless appears that a significant proportion of ACAS’ work relates to Unfair Dismissal.

Accordingly, it is important that when you consider taking any form of disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, that you follow a thorough and fair procedure.

For employers who have the benefit of Just Employment Law’s Annual Retainer Service, where you are considering taking disciplinary action against an employee, you should contact us and one of our solicitors will be pleased to provide you with all necessary guidance and assistance.

As part of the Retainer Service we offer full document vetting and/or drafting, which includes contracts of employment, and all documents in connection with disciplinary and grievance issues, such as invitation letters, guidance notes for meetings, outcome letters and appeal outcome letters.

Just Employment Law also offers training (either at our offices or a location of your choice) on key employment topics, including disciplinary and grievance, and we can tailor specific programmes to meet your training needs so that any potential risks can be identified at the outset, managed and, where appropriate, minimised. We are also happy to work with you on any particular employment law project.

In the event that an employee has submitted a claim against you then it is very important to ensure that you are in the best position to respond. Our legal team has substantial experience of representing and safeguarding employers’ interests before the Courts and Tribunals.

If you would like further information on our Retainer Service, Training or Employment Tribunal Representation then please do not hesitate to contact us at enquiries@justemploymentlaw.co.uk and one of our solicitors will be happy to discuss your requirements.

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