Changes to the Standard ACAS Early Conciliation Period

Anyone wishing to make a tribunal claim must complete a form to tell ACAS why they intend to make a claim. ACAS will try to help employees reach an agreement with employers before a tribunal claim is made. This process is called early conciliation.

ACAS is a government-funded body whose job is to help with workplace disputes.

Early Conciliation takes place before a tribunal claim is made. Starting early conciliation doesn’t mean that a tribunal claim has to be made if the dispute cannot be settled.

Early Conciliation must be started within 3 months, less 1 day from the date of the complaint or issue. If the claim is for statutory redundancy pay or equal pay the timeframe is 6 months less 1 day.

From 1st December 2020, ACAS Early Conciliation period is being extended as part of the process to simplify the Employment Tribunal claims process.

The ACAS Early Conciliation claim period is the mandatory dispute resolution process that a prospective claimant must go through to submit an Employment Tribunal Claim.

The changes to this process include:

  • The one-month early conciliation period, with a possible two-week extension, is to be increased to six weeks;
  • ACAS will have greater flexibility in how it handles minor errors. During the six-week period, ACAS will be able to contact prospective claimants to correct errors on an early conciliation form or obtain missing information.

These changes will help to simplify the ACAS Conciliation Process, however, all parties will need to tightly manage their negotiations within the available time frame, as there is no longer the option to extend the period, in order to ensure the opportunity to settle a dispute without recourse to the Tribunals is not lost.


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