NEW role for ACAS in Employment Tribunals

30/04/2014 Filed under HR

The Employment Tribunal Service has recently published it’s statistics on the number of claims lodged in the first full quarter AFTER the introduction of the fee system.

Fees were introduced from 29th July 2013 for claimants wanting to make a new claim. Application fees for type A claims start at £160 with a further £250 hearing fee and type B claims require an application fee of £250 with a further £950 hearing fee if the claim makes it all the way to a full hearing.

Official statistics have shown a 79% reduction of employment tribunal applications in the months of October – Dec 2013 when compared with the same time last year.

Further work is being done to reduce the number of claims with a new mandatory role for ACAS which started on 6th April 2014. This essentially means that if a Claimant wants to submit an employment tribunal claim, they have to engage with ACAS in the first instance and enter into early conciliation for a period of anything up to a month, with a view to resolving the dispute with their employer (or ex-employer). If the dispute is resolved, then this removes the need for matters to escalate to an employment tribunal however; if the employer doesn’t wish to engage in the process, which there is no requirement for them to do so, then the Claimant has one month from the end of early conciliation in which to lodge a claim with the tribunal.

All sounds positive for employers?.. well, it’s not all good….. What has remained is the situation whereby the tribunal fees are repaid to the Claimant in full by the employer if any aspect of the claim is successful, making it even more expensive for employers to defend claims.

If you receive an employment tribunal claim and are contacted by ACAS then contact the HR team – we are experienced in conciliation from the employers perspective and have a proven track record of negotiating settlements down by anything up to 80%. You really should have someone on your side that understands and knows how to best position your business in settlement discussions on employment tribunal claims.